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January 27, 2013

The Game of Change

What it is

Adding periods of calm into the overall plans you have for change.  It’s the time for catching your breath (yours and your child’s) and making adjustments before moving on.

Why it's Important

Our kids need to develop a healthy relationship with risk so that they can confidently make difficult decisions.  This requires hands-on experience taking action. 

Knowing how discern wise risk-taking from just taking-a-chance means your child knows how to weigh the cost of failure and the reward of success.  

It also means that your child knows how to make course corrections throughout an endeavor to reduce risk and improve success.

The Problem

Few parents help kids take risks; we are, understandably, more focused on preventing harm.   

Yes, please continue to watch for signs of peril while you also help your child learn how to manage a world that is full of risks.  Fear is learned early and can freeze growth.

The Tip

Add in half-time to every game

Take a tip from the NFL and other professional sports and add halftime!  It's a period of time mid-way through the process of change in which your child rests, reflects on the first half of action, and reinforces objectives before charging back onto the field.

Step 1:

Name the Game of Change

Make the game more fun by giving it a name.  If your child wants to improve her grades, run faster, make friends . . . each game can have a name. 

Step 2:

Define Winning

Always play to win.  Set clear and measurable objectives keeping in mind two big ideas:

Big Idea #1 - Make it Winnable

Games are only fun if they are challenging and winnable. 


Make sure to set winnable goals.

Big Idea #2 - Include objective and subjective measures for winning

Winning can be anything from a test score to making a friend.  Open the definition of winning to include both objective and subjective measures.

Step 3:

Divide the Game

Books, movies, sports, etc. have a beginning, middle, and end.  Games of change do, too.

Beginning - Set the stage, define winning, clarify skills needed, gather resources, train, practice, and play.

Middle - Rest, reflect, respond to challenges, adjust objectives, and get ready to play again.

End- Play with more confidence and more skill until the whistle blows!

Step 4:

Set Measures of Progress

Ask one question about the signs of winning for each part of the game:

Beginning  - How will you know that you're winning?

Middle - What was easy and hard about playing?

End - How will you play better this half?

Adjust the Game Clock as NeededAdjust the Game Clock as Needed

In professional football, there are 4 quarters, each lasting 15 minutes—but the game clock doesn’t run non-stop the whole time; it stops for a variety of reasons, such as injury, or incomplete pass.

Since we’re using metaphor here, make sure to “adjust the game clock” in similar situations.  

Step 5:

Game Over / Celebrate!

Winning the game of change is just as important as having the courage to play! Champion the wins and losses equally because you're really championing your child's spirit and courage to play a big game in life.



During half-time, you’re able to champion success to expand awareness and debrief losses in a way that restores your child’s desire to get back into the game.


The best time to objectively evaluate your skills is in the middle of a game that matters.  Winning is most important during the game so use half-time as a means to practice the courage it takes to objectively self-evaluate.


Much like the benefit of courage, during a game of change, when your child’s desire to win is strongest, your shared wisdom is likely to be even more powerful.

Promise Kept

We promise to teach our kids how to make good decisions and by giving them the opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with risk we make good on the promise by showing them how to approach life with a sense of adventure without getting hurt. 


Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - The Game of Change 

Related Articles:  Playing it Risky,

Related Tip of the Week:  Experimental Change, Don’t Land,



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Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - The Game of Change




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