You can learn a lot about life from Candy Land and unicorn puzzles.
Especially when both don’t go the way you planned.
I spent Saturday night babysitting (I know—I’m a party animal), which means it was an evening of adventures galore. Not only did we watch the “Hugglemas” episode of Henry HuggleMonster, but we also played Candy Land and Elefun AND completed a unicorn puzzle. Please try to contain your envy.
I need to discuss two things that happened Saturday night: cheating and realizing some puzzles can’t be finished the way you want.
I understand that some people let their kids win at everything (actually, I don’t fully understand because I think kids need to learn how to lose), so I know not everyone agrees with me on my opinions of playing board games with kids. However, I definitely don’t believe they should be allowed to cheat. The kids I babysat Saturday are beyond sweet and adorable, but they don’t seem to care about the rules of Candy Land. In fact, the little girl won the entire game in less than three minutes. I never even got to move my little game piece and attempt to find King Kandy.
Candy Land is by no means a long game, but I do know that it typically lasts longer than three minutes, and kids are supposed to follow the directions and improve their counting skills. They are also supposed to learn how to play fairly, and I’m sure they learn color identification a little better, too. Plus, it’s just a fun little escape into some whimsical world with the Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain. But part of the whole fun is the adventure—the experience of going through each step, sometimes going forward and sometimes going backward. You don’t get to pick your cards but, instead, simply have to adapt to whatever you’re dealt.
I think sometimes we try to cheat our way through the Candy Land of life. It seems so much simpler to get to whatever Candy Castle we’re trying to reach without having to worry about dealing with Queen Frostine or any setbacks we’re given. Rather than play the game fairly, we simply choose whatever cards look good and get to our destinations as fast as we can. There’s not a lot of room for learning and growth in that strategy. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of boardgames, but I think Candy Land does have some value in teaching kids about real life concepts—I think it can teach those same things to many adults, too.
After the less-than-three-minute Candy Land game, we spent a few minutes playing Elefun. This game, however, didn’t last very long. Thanks to my height advantage over the wee ones, I dominated. It’s sometimes more difficult to catch butterflies in your net when you’re closer to the ground. This meant it was time for the unicorn puzzle.
The puzzle was one of my favorite parts of the night. We all had to work together, and there was true determination in both kids to put all of the pieces in place. I’m not going to lie—I got really into this one. I can’t explain my frustration when we got all of the pieces in the right spots and then discovered that we were missing a piece. In that moment, it hit me: this is why I’m still single.
And I don’t mean because I was putting a unicorn puzzle together on a Saturday night.
There’s been more than one time in my life in which I’ve been interested in guys who have never returned my feelings, and things haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to. At the time, I’ve always been frustrated, but I was always looking at things with tunnel vision rather than puzzle vision. For things to truly be meant to be, all of the pieces have to be there to complete the puzzle. If even one piece is missing, you won’t get the beautiful picture that you’re trying to create.
I need to try to remind myself more often that I can’t skip ahead to Candy Castle, and I can’t force puzzles to happen when all of the pieces aren’t really there. I want to experience the adventures along the way, and I want to have my complete unicorn picture.
Even if it means watching a few episodes of Henry HuggleMonster as I go.