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Beware of "The Game"

Posted by White Crane Feather , 03 October 2013 · 280 views

It probably started when I was in second grade as i would walk to school. Out of sheer child hood creativity, I invented a racing game. As I was walking I would hear a car coming  behind me and I would race it to a specific spot. A tree, and corner whatever. I knew the car was faster than me, but I usually had a pretty good head start and I knew about how far I could make it before the car would ketch up. I would say to myself "ok, here it comes, if I don't beat it I'm going to die, or fall into a pit of hot lava."

Well... I played this game just about every day. It started to take on a new life. I almost started to believe I would die if I did not win the race. Intellectually I knew it was all made up, but it progressed to the point that I would feel overwhelming fear upon hearing a car behind me, and I was forced to race it. It degraded into me having to do it every time, and I basically sprinted to school every morning terrified. It went on for a while, ( I never told anyone about it because I knew it was silly, yet I was strangely bound by it.)

Eventually one day I had had enough. I mustered everything I had not to race the cars. I had to turn around and stare them down, then I just had to gather my strength and not let it bother me. It took a while, but eventually is was not a problem anymore... Yet it was always in there in the back of my mind ever time I heard a car approaching from behind me.

Fast forward to adult hood. I watch a documentary about OCD. Some kids had created very similar games to mine. One kid became obsessed with ceiling side walk cracks so no body's mother would ever break their backs. It was so bad for him he became disabled because all he could do was walk around dragging his foot. It looked like he was severely injured but he was just fine... Physically.  I knew then that I had narrowly avoided something like this.

Anyway, observing my six year old, I have noticed him making up similar games. Just the other day all of a sudden be bolted down the side walk. I asked him why he did that, and he said "I had to beat the car". I was floored, he had recreated my game. I of course never told him about it. He also races our car with an imaginary plum of lava rolling down the street.

It's all innocent of course, but I know better. If you have children pay close attention to how they motivate themselves, and cultivate a completely open relationship while asking them questions about what they where thinking when they do certain things. Never chastise or be little redirect if you have to by playing with them, but make sure they are doing the direction . Our minds are more powerful  than I think most people realize. And beware of the game.

To this day, instill feel that slight twinge when a car is approaching me from behind.

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