The Game of Life

The Game of Life

Like 175 million other people worldwide, I recently joined the social networking website, Facebook.

Besides luring my own friends, I pestered relatives, and my grown-kids high school friends to join me in snooping on one another.

It’s was a hoot, and for the first couple of weeks, I was hooked.

After mentioning in my status bar that “Marlene is hooked on Facebook”, a friend commented back that playing on the site can be as addictive as crack. I doubt if she does crack, but I get the point. I think she may be right.

I was having so much fun one Saturday afternoon reconnecting with old friends that I kept ignoring my daughter E’s request to play a board game.

Finally, I got my priorities straight and decided not to go down in history as, “Mom never played games with us”.

Why do my kids always say that? Obviously they have a totally different perspective than I. Just because I am not a big fan of board games doesn’t mean I haven’t ever played one with them.

Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. I closed the laptop to ward off temptation and told my girls to set up the game on the kitchen table.

M & E set up the Milton Bradley Game of LIFE.

After a chance selection of occupations and receiving a playing piece to drive us around the board, we began to play.

Through LIFE we traveled, collecting paychecks, making loans, having kids, and getting sick.

Depending on the spin of the wheel and decisions made along the way, one could spend their retirement in Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres.

Some of this seemed like happenstance, while also being the consequence of choice. As I sat there playing, I kept thinking about my husband’s opinion of the game.

What message was this game sending?

My husband, aka Grandpa Davey, strives to follow “A Path With a Heart”, not the path where you have to live up to the Jones’s.

Games like LIFE and online communities like WEBKINZ, condition our children to place too much value on money.

They encourage life in the rat race, irresponsible borrowing, and spendthrift behavior. Get a job, be a consumer, live up to the Jones’s, and hope to live to retirement is a common theme.

The message is: it’s where you live, what you wear, and how much you make that’s important; it’s what gives life meaning.


It’s not up to me to tell you what gives life meaning as we are all on a journey of our own, and what is valuable to me may not be of value to you.

I would simply remind you to take some quiet time with your inner-self to reflect and nurture the dreams that fulfill you and make your life worth living.

Every day we are examples in the game of life. What message are you sending and what are your children receiving?