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The Games People Play

It is an amazing study to watch people play games, whether chess, poker, board games, whatever. When you have a well-designed game that mixes strategy with luck, it really mimics life. You can set up a wonderful strategy then a few turns when the wrong thing happens at the wrong time, you can go from first to last. Then another person makes every mistake in the book and things just turn out right and they come out on top.

But how do people handle the ebb and flow of their fortunes in a game? How do people make decisions? Do they have three or four options ready to pursue the instant their turn comes, or do they spend 5-10 minutes looking over everything carefully as if it is their first time seeing the board? Are they flexible to meet new opportunities or hold firm to their original plan regardless of the appearance of the evolving game?

Then for the $64,000 (000,000,000 in today’s economy?) question—do they behave differently in a game because they know it is a game, or do they act the same as if it were for real? Do they take more risks in the game because there are no lasting consequences? Do they play carelessly, not taking it seriously? Do they take it more seriously than the challenges of real life? Why for each of these?

Do our students treat their education as a game they have to play until graduating to “real life” when they can get on with things that count? How can we help them in all their various approaches to get the most out of our class?

Do the people around us see their spiritual life as recreation or as preparing for the real life of eternity? How do we treat it ourselves?

I guess the answer to many of these questions depends on how folks define what is a game.


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