Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Ethics of Chutes and Ladders

Its been a marathon of Chutes and Ladders around here. I guess most parents would inwardly jump for glee at the thought of having discussions regarding the ethics of Chutes and Ladders with their 4 year old. Most parents think, "Yes! My child is asking me questions through which I can impart my progeny with my belief structure! This is when I can MAKE A DIFFERENCE!"

I just want to play the freakin' game.

OK, so a few of the "consequences" make perfect sense. Yes, if you plant seeds, you (might) grow flowers. Yes, if you put all the right ingredients together and you will indeed make a cake.

I don't mind talking about why the kid pulled the cat's tail and the consequences of that action. I am happy to talk about the consequences of coloring on the wall (something my child has yet to do, and I must say, I think I saw a speculative gleam in his eye on that one...).

However, how do explain to my child that some people bribe their kids? 1) You get to go the movies if you help clean the house? No. You get to clean the house since you live in it. 2) Take out the trash and you get a big fat whoppin' ice cream sundae? My god, that is quite a reward! Did he take out all the trash in the whole city? Or better yet, did he achieve a way to drastically lower people's output of garbage? For that one I would give him a sundae a week!

Even worse is the third category: the over-exaggerated or under-exaggerated consequences. The fact is, if you skate on thin ice, you won't be sitting there with your feet in the hole. You will be under the ice drowning. Pretty gruesome image to stick on a game, but how the heck do I answer the question, "What happens when you really skate on thin ice, Mama?" eep. Or, "If we measure me before and after I eat, how much will I grow?" ummm....

And finally, my personal favorite, poorly executed drawings of the consequences. "So if you ride your bike unsafely, it turns into a unicycle?" Yes, thats right. "Why is the girl getting to climb a ladder if she hurt the dog? Well if she didn't hurt it, who did? How did the dog's paw get hurt? Why would someone hurt a dog? I am glad she is helping the dog. Do you think it stepped on a sharp bone?" Can't we just freakin' spin already?

I shouldn't complain. In exchange for this ludicrousness, I get to see the amazing empathy of my child. We can't continue play until WE put a band-aid on the dog, cat, kid etc. Every time someone falls down a chute, the other player must come and help fix the situation. He kept hoping he could fall down chutes so he could help the poor kitty get out of the tree again. Many of the kids in the game now have names so we can help them better. When he (finally) won, we had to play till I won, too.

Thanks, buddy, for teaching me the real ethics of Chutes and Ladders.

1 comment:

  1. Aww. That is adorably cute and a very good entry. I laughed the first and second times reading it.