FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure


Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 28•14


D and I were playing Zingo. It is a game where you pull a number card holder back and forth and match square yellow tiles with numbers to your game card. It’s, basically, Bingo with a Z.

We both almost had our game cards filled up and needed the number “two.” So I told D, “Hey, we both need the number two—you better be ready. If you snooze, you might lose.”

A few cards later, there was a number two tile available for us both. I waited a moment to see if he would yell out “two.” But he reached for the card holder, and I grabbed the two tile, put it on my card and yelled “Zingo!”

His reaction was instantaneous. He grabbed my game card, flung the number tiles up in the air and moved the card holder back and forth, frantically searching for a number two to revise the outcome of the game.

He finallly found a number two, placed it on his card and yelled out, “Zingo…I win!” At first, I was angry because the yellow number tiles were scattered all over his bedroom, and feared they would end up like so many other game board games pieces: lost or missing.

Nevertheless, I sensed this was a teachable moment, larger than losing the game pieces amid toys, clothes, plush characters, coins, and tiny scraps of paper on the bedroom floor.

“Who won?”

“I won.”

“Who won?”

“I won.”

“Who won?”

“I won.”

“No, I won.”

I reviewed with him what transpired, explaining that I had filled up my number card first and yelled “Zingo.” It made perfect sense to me, but I knew this didn’t mean it made sense to him.

I could tell he still believed he won because he flung my game pieces, found the number two, and declared himself the winner, believing the beautiful lie as a way to cover up his disappointment at losing.

I’ve believed the beautiful lie many times in my life to rationalize a wrong behavior, so I didn’t t want to encourage his revionist thinking, but I sensed believing the beautiful lie was lesson for his teenage years.

“It’s okay if you don’t win every time,” I said. “But you can’t throw the game pieces when you don’t win. Instead, you can congratulate the winner.”

This was the teachable moment for today, and not about believing the beautiful lie–this is what I’ve been learning in my life–and in lieu of his difficulty regulating his emotions, I think sportsmanship was the right lesson for me to emphasize for today.

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