The Friendship Game & Anti-Bullying Featured
At this time where the anti-bullying campaign is so important, I find myself thinking about ways to stop bullying. What are we teaching youngsters today? How do we and how can we instill positive acceptance of others? Are our kids playing any games that have a positive influence against bullying?
"Game" requirements: Have an odd number of people. Usually at least 9 people - the more people the better.
The set up: Form two lines about four feet apart and face the person directly across from you. This is your current partner. Designate one end of the two lines as the front. One non-partnered person is at the front of the two lines.
The game: The non-partnered person ventures between the two lines and takes the hand of the person they want to be partnered with. They both hold hands as together they continue through the open area between the lines to the end where they separate and take the end position in opposite lines. The new non-partnered person makes their way on the outside of the lines to the front. they then venture between the lines, as the last person did, and select who they want to be partnered with. This continues over and over for the duration (you choose the time frame) of the game.
Rules: The non-partnered person cannot choose the person they were just partnered with. New partners must hold hands as they travel together to the end of the lines.
This game can be played by all age groups. The group that taught me the game began with elementary aged kids and included multiple generations. I was 26 when I learned to play.
The awesome part of this game was that everyone felt special - wanted, included, etc - because they were chosen by someone who wanted to be their partner and stand with them. And those whose partner was chosen did not become a loser because they became the next selector. While playing this game, I never saw one person disappointed by being chosen. Smiles were abundant.
I can't think of any other "game" I've ever played that did not include a loser. According to thefreedictionary.com the top three definitions of Game, as a noun, are:
1. An amusement or pastime; diversion
2. A contest with rules, the result being determined by skill, strength, or chance
3. A single period of play in such a contest, sport, etc
By these definitions, this "Friendship Game" as I've titled it - for lack of a better brainstorming moment - is most definitely a game.
So if you ever want to play a very positive esteem building game this could very well be the game you've been looking for.
I remember playing countless hours of Red Rover (which had winners and losers) and I have not turned into a bully. But what if we were to play more games -without winners and losers- with our kids? Would that bring the downfall of the American competitive spirit or would it enhance it by providing our youth with more positive self esteem building play experiences?
I don't have all the answers. I just wrote what was on my mind this morning. The big questions is how do we put an end to bullying.