Not so Hard

Best Christmas gift this year = Yahtzee.

Ever since Santa made an early touchdown at a family Christmas party in mid-December, the Goodwins have been rolling at least one game a day.

We all love it.

Briggs is learning math and practicing his writing, and Ken and I have reunited with a game that has long, deep, good roots in both of our families.

While this game of five dice and a score sheet is a fair amount of luck (how the dice roll), there’s still a fair amount of strategy involved in deciding which combination to go for and where to put your points.

Though, during our nightly game last night, I tried something I struggle with: not trying.

There are no consequences here.  Worst case scenario, Briggs crushes you, which actually might be the best case scenario.

And so, each time as the dice revealed their destiny, I tried not to think so much.  If going for fours felt right, I went for fours (despite those sixes).  If rolling for the Large Straight felt like a stretch but still felt like the right move, I rolled for it.

I learned this from watching Briggs.

Our five year-old totally has a handle on this game.  He understands the objectives and point structure. Recognizes the value in top-loading his best scores to unlock the 35 bonus points.  He’s got this.  And still, many times, he defies the rules of probability – goes for something that looks like a total long shot – and gets what he wants.

Whenever he’s faced with a tough roll, I typically ask:

“What are you gonna do?”

He looks at the dice, takes a breath and reports back with full confidence:

“I’m going for threes / Full Boat (Full House) / The big 20 (4 fives) / Time for YAHTZEE.”

He doesn’t always get exactly what he’s after, but more times than not, when he just goes with what feels right to him, it works out.

He’s got this knowing of what he wants, that I want more of for myself.

The “not trying so hard,” experiment was fairly successful.  I noticed that when I just went with what I felt, I nearly always came away with at least a good (and in a few instances, even a great) score.

I also noticed that I don’t always know how I feel.  There were turns when I talked myself into feeling one way or another, but it was mostly just talk.  Those rolls rarely panned out.

The game ended with a win for Briggs, and for me, a renewed trust in feelings and a pledge to keep rolling until I really know how I really feel.









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