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Sunday, May 5, 2019


This week the way-back machine goes to May 2015
I learned something today while minding my littlest Crankette.  Connor, the almost five year old, shamed me into playing some games with him.

“Why you always playin on the puter?”

“What should I be doing?”

“We play some games?”

“Oh…ah sure, what game?”

Connor pulled out some games.  We first played “Connect Four” an interesting kind of fancy tic tac toe game.  I was very competitive and won two in a row, but I didn’t rub it in and actually let him think each game was a tie.  We then switched to a different game and this is where Conor taught me something.

We played “Don't Break The Ice."  In this game you build an ice skating rink out of little plastic blocks.  When that is done, you take turns knocking out the blocks of ice.  Eventually when you knock out one block the whole thing comes down along with a little skater dude.  The winner is the one who doesn’t knock down the skater dude.


Building the rink takes longer then knocking it down.  As we were putting it together I had no idea what the game was about. I asked Connor as we locked in these pieces of “ice”,

“What do you do to win this game?”

Now I am not a big believer in games where everyone wins and no one keeps score.  I am not an advocate of “Everyone gets a trophy” and I was never one for believing in that old saw “Out of the mouths of babes.” However Connor hit me with a concept that only an almost five year old could deliver.

“This is not a winning game, this is a having fun game.”

I believe in competition. Winning can be important, but there is nothing wrong, especially when you are almost five, with just having fun.

I will never be a professional golfer, not even on the senior circuit.  I will never be one of the best bowlers in my league.  I will never write a bestselling book or even be published.  I will never be able to play guitar well enough to perform to an audience.  There is nothing at this stage of my life where I will ever be immensely successful.  Just like an almost five year old that is still too small to expect to win; I am past the age of winning.

So now when I miss a short putt, blow an easy spare, write a mediocre blog post, or just cannot put together a clean guitar chord progression I will remember my almost five year olds words of wisdom and not be frustrated.  Instead I will remember that the game of life ultimately “Is not a winning game, it is a having fun game.”


  1. I like that philosophy of Connor's. I think we all need more kinds of games like that in our life. It is good to win, it is good to learn how to lose graciously, but it is also good to just have fun and spend time making memories with those we want to make memories with.


  2. Connor is right, fun is more important when you are only almost five. Competition comes soon enough when they start school. Here's an appropriate quote: "The true winners are those that actually enjoy the sport they choose to play whether they win or not. They're having FUN."

  3. '“This is not a winning game, this is a having fun game.'

    How lovely, and how true. Thank you so much for sharing this gem of wisdom.

  4. “Is not a winning game, it is a having fun game.”

    If only society learnt to live like that!

    God bless.

  5. Ah, yes, those of us who had a house full of toddles learned this lesson long ago.

  6. I'm not sure I ever had fun playing Don't Break the Ice, but nice concept, Connor!!!

  7. That is so sweet. I hope COnnor continues to be wise.

  8. Such a wonderful reminder to all of us to not be so serious all the time, take time away from the "puter" to just play. I play racquetball with a group of similarly aged players, and although we are competitive, for me it's not so much whether I win or lose, but how much fun we have.

  9. Good for Connor. It doesn't always have to be about keeping score.

    My cousins and I loved to play croquet at my grandma's house. She was cut-throat in her quest to win! She had no qualms about knocking our ball across the road and into the woods. She also couldn't stand it if the Cardinals were losing a baseball game, and she had to turn off the TV. Nobody ever let me win during childhood games. It didn't stop me from having fun, though.

  10. Anything you know you will not become an expert at, it's okay to do it just for the fun. Now i just hope Connor has kept that attitude.

  11. I actually think you're winning at the "having fun" part of life! Way to go!

  12. Dear Joe you are such a REMARKABLE SOUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    how sweet of you to make your partner believe that it was a tie :)

    this demands dare strength of love and power of wisdom to avoid the show off and be humble and generous !

    over the years whenever i played games with friends or family i deliberately let them win because it gave me happiness more than victory could give ,i know sounds stupid but that's me :(

    you did not pass the age of winning as you are winning that lots and lots of hearts everyday with your fantastic humor and exquisite way of writing !

    this is such a pleasure to find you in blogging land my friend!

  13. Wow - Connor's sentence is a great life philosophy!

    This is not a winning game, this is a having fun game.


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