I Don’t Wanna!

Summer Day 17

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. -Philippians 2:3-5, 14-15

I Don’t Wanna!

Do you ever struggle with selfishness? Do you choose your own needs over your children’s?

I know I do.

For example, do any of you shop at a grocery store where they run the “Monopoly Shop, Play, Win!” promotion? Personally, I do not like these types of games. I’m not putting it down; I simply choose to not put the effort into gaining prizes.

Earlier this year I went into this store. One of my daughters saw the game and very much wanted to play. I ignored her and told the cashier I wasn’t interested. She kept asking. I explained to her that I didn’t want to do it. She continued to ask. Something in the game strongly piqued her interest. I decided that if she really wanted to play, then why should I keep her from playing? I told the cashier that I changed my mind, then instructed my daughter, “You can play it, but you have to do it yourself.”

She was happy. I was happy. End of story, right? Wrong.

My daughter laid out the board and attempted to place the stickers in their appropriate places. The instructions didn’t make enough sense to her.

Did I help her? No, I stuck to my condition for letting her play. Did she ask me for help? No, she, too, stuck to her end of the deal. She did get some help from Daddy and eventually figured it out.

Do I feel bad? You bet! I can still picture her on the ground with the game, looking at it, trying her best to figure out what to do. I had the time to sit with her and gain a special one-on-one opportunity together. I could’ve met her where she was.

I walked away.

I realize now that I exemplified the exact attitude for which I scold my children.

“Have a good attitude!”

“You can be unhappy, but do it in a way that doesn’t bother others.”

“I know that you don’t want to, but you don’t always get to choose.”

“The Bible says, ‘Do everything without complaining.’”

“Life is not all about you.”

Do you ever have the same “I don’t wanna” attitude that our children display? Please pray with me.

Go Deeper:

Dear Heavenly Father,

The knot in my stomach says it all. I choose myself over my children time and again. I  overuse the advice to “take care of yourself,” misconstruing into a major loss of quality time with the ones for whom you called me to care. Forgive me, Father. Forgive my “I don’t want to” attitude. Let me value quality time with them, even when that means an activity that I do not like. Give me wisdom to balance my time so that they see a woman who dearly loves them and You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What Next:

If my story depressed you, let me flip it around, just like my attitude! Contrary to this story, I love to play table top (i.e. board/card) games with my children. Therefore, I want to work in more game time this summer. Some games can take as little as 10 minutes.

First, some games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders rely solely on the luck of the draw to determine who wins. Many young children don’t understand why they have to lose a turn or go backward when they didn’t do anything wrong. “It’s just a game” doesn’t bring consolation at any age. You can prevent a negative game time if you consider your child’s personality before playing these types of games.

Second, the recommended ages on games are based upon testing. Many games are suitable for children younger than the stated age minimum, but the manufacturer simply never tested that age group. Therefore, your children may have no problems playing a game despite the recommended age.

Finally, altering the game to suit your child’s age or personality may be the trick to enjoying the game together. Here’s how:

  1. Lower the point goal amount so the game doesn’t go long and drawn out. Take away the negative aspects of the game. We started playing Settlers of Catan with our children when they were around age 5. We lowered the goal from 10 points to 6 and did not play with the Robber.
  2. Play pretend with the game characters. In the process, teach them to move along the path. Some games are played by creating a path, like Landlock or Blokus. Instead of playing against each other, work together to make the pieces fit.  Above all else, use your imagination.
  3. If it’s a speed game, consider changing it into a turn taking game. Give confidence to your young child. Spot It requires a keen eye to find matches, which a child can easily do but may not be as quick as you. Start out by taking turns to find the matches until the child can play against you. And this may happen sooner than you expect!
  4. Go easy on them! Would you rather slow down the game so your child can enjoy and learn or remind them they’re not as smart as you? Note: you don’t have to eliminate your competitive spirit altogether. You can also teach them how to play more competitively by letting them sit next to you, absorbing the interaction, while you play with other adults.
  5. Play to win as a group. Take a game like Clue Jr. Instead of playing against each other, share all of the clues as they unfold to solve the game together.
  6. There are some games that a younger player (or non-competitive adult!) can play with only the knowing the mechanics, but not the strategy. They can put down their cards randomly without changing the challenge in the game. Some gamers call this a dummy hand, but don’t call an adult that! Tsuro, Nobody But Us Chickens, and Birds of a Feather are three games that work very well this way.
  7. With the growing increase of new games, don’t forget traditional card games. When you play cards with young children, use normal playing cards which show the number of hearts or spades. Don’t use cards that have pictures or photos. They remove the pictorial aspect that helps teach children how to count:
Traditional playing cards have a pictorial representation of the number.

Traditional playing cards have a pictorial representation of the number.

No offense, Sponge Bob, but young children can’t improve their counting skills with you.

No offense, Sponge Bob, but young children don’t improve their counting skills with you


 summer 16
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Daphne Close
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10 Comments on “I Don’t Wanna!”

  1. Thank you for your transparency and honesty Daphne. God is working on my “I don’t wanna” attitude too! Love the Philippians verse at the beginning. Beautiful study!

  2. This is such a great study, Daphne! I appreciate your honesty sooo much! It’s so hard to be others centered like Jesus and not selfish. Selfishness is a heart problem that requires the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome. I am so thankful for His help to us! I’m pretty sure I would be terribly selfish all the time without Him!

  3. Thank you for you honesty. I appreciate the game suggestions too, especially playing Clue Jr together.

    1. I enjoyed it a lot more. I played regular Clue with my daughter as a preschooler, but I don’t remember exactly what we did. I believe all we did was we explored the board, making up stories as we went along. To use regular Clue, try this: 1) Don’t deal out cards. 2) Every time a player enters a room, they draw three cards to show everyone. 3) Eventually, you can make a group guess.

  4. This is great, Daphne! I definitely need to spend more time having fun with my children. Thank you for all game recommendations!

    1. You’re welcome! Please comment again if you play a game together. I’d love to know how it goes.

  5. Daphne thank you for your game recommendations!! I love playing games and look forward to the near future when my kids will be old enough to start playing some board games with me 🙂 Thank you too for sharing your heart here and giving really practical solutions to connect with our kids even when we don’t want to!

    1. I would be happy to chat with you if you want some more ideas on how to play games even at this young age!

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