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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #94: Don't Break the Ice

If you have children, or work with children, or live near children, you will encounter a brief space of time in which games such as this are a source of bizarre limitless delight to their little animalistic evolving brains. Whack something with a hammer? Something they've expressly been instructed not to do their entire eyeblink existence? At first, with three or four year olds, the whacking is the entire point. Forget the poor bastard bear who's just looking to skate in peace (forget for the moment that this is too dark to be a polar bear, who could be forgiven for his arctic athletics, and instead is a darker ursine who should probably be hibernating somewhere - but we digress). It's about the whacking. The noise. The clatter of plastic ice chunks. Again!


For maybe a year or two after that, they'll actually play the game with you. This is precisely the window in which parenting philosophies experience a schism on the scale of the Catholic Church in the wake of Luther's 95 theses. Let them win, thus building their joy and self-esteem? Or make them earn victory, thus building their resilience and grit? I was always a devotee of the latter school. I figure they'll pick up joy somewhere else along the way.


I know this thing is still in our basement, along with any number of other similar games (Cootie comes to mind, or Don't Spill the Beans). I know if I ever play it again, it would be with our grandchildren. Of course, by then, their neuro-cortical direct stimulating implant devices (iBrain, from Apple!) will be tough to compete with. Maybe we'll have to let them win.

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