Winning At All Costs?

photo-1I just spent a good portion of the last two days playing Candy Land with my three-year-old granddaughter.

I didn’t win a single game.

I’ve been through the routine before. With six children, I’ve played my share of games where I allowed my kids to win. A lot. But learning to lose is a valuable lesson all of us need to acquire. Nobody wins every time. Not everyone gets a trophy.

Then there’s Isley.

How had I ever forgotten how manipulative charming children can be? How they can look you right in the eye and rewrite the rules with the logic of a seasoned politician?

Having maneuvered most of the board, Isley pulled the gingerbread man card. All the way back to the beginning.

“I don’t want to go there.”

“But that’s the game, honey. It’s the card you picked. You’ve got to do what the card says.”

“If I do that, I won’t win.”

So she sent me back.

Two games later, I got stuck in one of the “licorice spaces”, an automatic loss of a turn.

I sat there for four turns because she said I wasn’t unstuck yet.  “The licorice is really sticky, Nana. You can’t get out yet.”

Could I have challenged her? Shared some hard truths about the reality of what’s right and wrong? Sure. Was this a hill to die on? Not so much. I still want to be the Nana she wants to hang with.

Pathetic, right?

photo-2For all my sad, weak reasoning, though, this was an eye-opener for me.

Everyone likes to win. Culturally, we’re honored and rewarded for it. So much so that sometimes we allow the rules to be a little fluid to provide a more efficient path to victory. We bend the rules to suit us.

The funny thing is that when I do that (and I know I do), I can still take offense with someone else who tries to pull the same thing with me. It’s only fair that everyone else follow the rules. Right?

It’s all about truth. If I believe that absolute truth exists, that there’s a reason for the “why” things are right or wrong, then that should affect my decisions and actions.

I know God is the absolute truth. The Divine Intelligence that gives meaning to life and life to all of us. What He says about right and wrong matters. So I don’t want to fudge when it comes to making choices based on His truth.

images“Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”   Psalm 86:11

I think most of us want to do what’s right. Sometimes the pressure is so great to achieve, to win, that the method may pale in light of the goal. But there is One who not only knows the right way but has made available the power to live that right way. If I’ll choose to follow Him.

That’s definitely a game changer.

Picture of Candy Land courtesy of

One response to “Winning At All Costs?”

  1. Been there! Done that! … Both letting adorable little ones win (constantly) and wanting to “win” myself. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to follow the game creator!


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