All my life, I’ve been way too hung up on playing the ‘X and O’s game the right way, the way I know how to play it. Recently though, I’ve been challenged by a 14 year old boy that resulted in my changed views not only about this game but also about my life in general.
‘L’ is a young man that I work with who is diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome which means that he struggles to understand some basic concepts, and remember or retain information. It poses a lot of difficulties for me during session as I would struggle to engage him in any focused work regarding his referral behaviour. He has limited ideas about his own abilities and limitations. For instance, L used to say that he knows how to play chess and when we try to play chess, he would play it like snake and ladder and move things about.
L and I used to love playing x and o’s-the simplest yet most competitive game for both of us. Couple of months back, L introduced this new version of X and O’s with loads and loads of rows and columns. I vaguely remember saying to him ‘I’m not too sure how it’s going to work L, why don’t we try and stick with the old one?’. And we did. Mistake No.1.
Last week, however, when we were playing x and o’s as usual, I got out my last piece of paper from my Narnia bag (as he calls it), drawing numerous rows and columns I said to him, ‘let’s play it your way’. And we did. Score No.1.
Not only I had the best x and o’s game of my life, it made me learn an important lesson in life: Life is too short if you keep on trying to play it the way you know it.
Ps: I still won the game though.