The Most Important Game You Can Play As a Parent

by Carrie Contey, Ph.D.

I’ll give you a hint…

The most important game you can play as a parent is not Monopoly or Battleship or Scrabble. (though those are fun, stimulating games that I totally kick butt at!)

No, the most important game for you to play can happen at any moment, and hundreds of parents in my Evolve program are playing it right now.

There’s no set up. No download. No pieces.

Let me explain.

Most of us spend a good chunk of time playing the “What if…” game in our minds. And more than not, we often consciously or unconsciously tend toward playing “What if…” DOWN more than “What if… “ UP.

We often spend time worrying about the future (DOWN) instead of putting a positive spin on those future thoughts (UP).

For example, here are some things I hear often from parents:

  • What if my child grows up to be unhappy?
  • What if I’m not doing a good enough job as a parent?
  • What if my child grows up to be someone people don’t really like?
  • What if my child never learns how to be empathetic?
  • What if my child never learns to like vegetables?
  • What if my child hates me and we have an awful relationship as adults?

And on and on and on.

Here’s the thing: There really is only this moment. So when you play “What if…” with the negatives you miss an opportunity to feel good in this moment.

However, when you play “What if…” with positive statements, you give yourself an opportunity to nourish yourself in the now. And when you feel good in this moment you are setting yourself up to feel good in this moment, and this moment and this moment and on and on and on and up and up….

The game I’m proposing is simple: It’s called the “What If” game. You can play in your mind, you can write it down, you can sing it out loud, you can text it to a friend, you can say it to your family.

All you have to do is turn all your wonderings about life, into what if UPs. The kind of wonderings that feel really good.

Here are some examples:

  • What if I’m totally the right parent for this growing person?
  • What if tonight, I get exactly what I need?
  • What if my child grows up to be a generous, gracious, empathetic, loving, respectful person?
  • What if my child feels massively loved by me and in turn grows up to be a massively loving person?
  • What if knocking it outta the park 1 out of 30 times is way more than enough?
  • What if my love and compassion and empathy and kindness and respect is wiring my child’s brain for all of those things?
  • What if we really dig being together in all phases of our lives together?
  • What if I feel incredibly confident and loving towards myself and radiate that to others?

Get the gist?

Now let’s play! Take a moment and write a few What Ifs in the comment section. (Do it, it’s fun!)

And the next time the doubts start to creep in, remember this game.
It’s all yours!

The Growing Room Academy offers Chess Club for grades 1-5. (Academy members only). For more information about how to become an Academy member and how to register your child please visit: locations/the-academy.