Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Scrabble Lesson

I bought my daughter a game of Scrabble for Christmas a number of years ago. However, after we played it once, it was clear that she wasn't quite ready for this game. So it sat in her closet until one day a few months ago, when she pulled it out and asked to play. Since then, we have played dozens of times and it has been fascinating for me to see how rapidly her skills have advanced, both in terms of strategy and in the array of words that she has come up with. I too have learned something in this time of play, call it my own Scrabble lesson.

When we first started playing Scrabble, I would easily outscore my daughter without taxing myself in the least. However, as she figured out some basic strategies of the game, I had to work to stay ahead of her. The other thing that keeps the scores close, and in fact, has lead to her beating me as often as I beat her, is that when she gets stuck and can't figure out what move to make, she will ask me for help. In these situations I always give her my advice for achieving the highest possible score for her turn, even if this means that I lose the opportunity to score a big word for myself. However, despite the obvious advantage that she gets from such input, I never say anything about this when she does beat me. We celebrate her victories just as if she had done it all on her own.

There is a Biblical principle about honesty and integrity, basically that we should display these traits even when nobody can see us or know what we are doing. I think helping my daughter during our Scrabble games is part of this. It also allows me to encourage her and to strengthen her self image. Now, I don't think that this small thing puts me up for any father of the year awards, not that I am asking for any recognition. I just think sometimes that it is good to recognize how we can put Biblical principles into action in a practical way in our lives and why it is valuable.