11 lessons to teach our kids drawn from a monopoly game I just finished
I remember monopoly being one of my favorite games. I remember getting filled with anxiety before the first throw of dice hoping no one gets to my rail-roads before I do. I used to love winning and really hate losing in monopoly. There’s something really eternal about this game.
Looking back at it I can’t say I remember monopoly creating or changing my perception of money as a child. Then again, money has always been a personal favorite of mine and maybe monopoly had something to do with it. Anyway, I do think parents can leverage monopoly for some fun education and basic finance and money teaching to kids.
I’ve just finished a round of computer monopoly (I actually won with my secret rail-road orange property technique!). During the game I’ve written down 11 important lessons the game teaches and imbeds as intuitive in the player’s mind (I believe that the younger the player the more powerful the influence of the game is). I thought It would be fun writing a post about it:
#1 Money doesn’t grow on trees
The most powerful lesson, in my opinion, is of the value of money. You have to think carefully and constantly evaluate how much money you have and how long it will take you to pass go and collect a bit more.
You simply can’t buy everything you desire and you must accept the tradeoffs that go hand in hand with limited funds.
#2 You need luck
You can’t escape it. Luck has a key role in success. It may seem unfair but that’s the way it is. You might have had the best of strategies, your properties lined with bright and shiny hotels but no landed on them for three rounds. Then, after your friend just finished building his first couple of houses you decide to visit them every turn.
Learning to live in peace with the random factor in life is essential to reduce frustrations (you can never really avoid them).
#3 You need other people
With good monopoly players you’re chances of landing three properties or four railroads is slim to none. Often times the game leads to a sort of stale-mate in which the first two to strike a deal will surely cause the downfall of the rest of the players.
Learning to cooperate with other people and learning that where ever you go you need other people is a valuable lesson for life.
#4 There are win-win situations
Learning to think of deals as a sort of win-win situation is essential for good business understanding. Some people think of deals as closed system where one gains at the others expense. Seldom is that the case (even though in stocks that’s usually the case).
Almost any deal can be put in terms of win-win situations and can be marketed as such. This view is necessary for progress and deal closure.
Teaching our kids to create win-win situations and to be able to express a certain value to other people is priceless.
#5 Shortcuts can lead to jail
I’ve never really understood why three double rolls in a row result in jail. After I’ve written it down as a lesson it suddenly hit me this might be the reason. No such things as shortcuts in life (or very few of them anyway). Shortcuts will usually result in getting thrown back and held for some time.
Hard work and good planning is always a sound lesson.
#6 Life holds good and nasty surprises
I love the little drawings on chance and community chest cards. I take pride in the creativity of this lesson. There are both good and bad surprises in life and we must accept them as they are.
Taking each surprise as an experience and learning to live with uncertainties is an integral part of life.
#7 Even small things can influence the greater scheme
I love J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’. I always enjoy the lessons of the massive impact small things can have. I’ve won my share of monopoly games by buying Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue and laying two $450 traps for innocent players. $2 rent properties should not be trifled with.
Teaching our children to respect what appears as small and weak is very important.
#8 Patience is a virtue
Someone will eventually hit that certain square. Patience is all that’s needed. They mass pas it 5 rounds in a row but eventually they’ll land on it. I always enjoy the long wait before someone is tackled by 4 menacing green houses.
Patience is not something kinds excel in. Monopoly is another opportunity to strengthen this trait.
#9 Investing early pays higher dividends
My favorite players to play against are the ones that hog their money afraid to spend it on the less valuable properties. They’re usually the first to go having been left with no real chance of leveraging their properties into winnings. Money can only be enough to land on Baltic 3-4 times. Bankruptcy follows.
Parents should really take this lesson to heart and invest early for their children’s financial sake.
#10 Loans only go so far
We all know mortgaging our assets will only take us a couple of more rounds at best. Why do we insist on rolling debt in life?
#11 Economies of scale
For the more advanced kids the lesson on economies of scale is a powerful one. You own all the rail-roads? Now you can really start charging those fees. Own both utilities? Start multiplying by ten.
I love this game! I’d love to hear your monopoly experience and ideas on more lessons to drawcomputer monopoly, Finance, Learning, lesson, Monopoly, monopoly game, player, rail roads, random factor, value of money