Life Dice Game - Review
For Bahá'ís, developing good character and virtues is supposed to be a part of a believer's daily observance, but the challenge is in the details of achieving such an attitude and practice. "Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds." - Bahá'u'lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words
The Life Dice Game can be one tool to develop that mindset. We tried it out on a recent Wednesday Games Night at our house. No kids there that evening (but that never prevents us from playing games usually labeled for children). The result, once we got over feeling a bit shy of embarrassment, was a much deeper conversation than we usually associate with board games.
According to the short instructions attached to the little mesh bag for the wooden cubes, playing with Life Dice facilitates meaningful interactions in three ways:
1- by "providing a playful structure that shifts control away from parents, teachers, or tem-leaders and into the hands of participants." Everyone has about the same amount of control, or lack thereof, since each must toss the dice and wait to see what comes up.The game consists of a pair of dice, one with questions and one with directions how to answer, such as:
2- by "promoting self-discovery and meaningful sharing focused on virtues and character strength." The questions do assist participants to view the day's events through the lens of virtues and service, instead of good and bad that happened to them.
3- by "challenging mind, heart and body" at the same time. This premise is a little more difficult to follow, but the second die's instructions involve body movements that are to foster "understanding the kinesthetic aspect of communication." It won't teach how to read body language, but I found wondering how I was supposed to frame my answer just as interesting as what I was going to say.
Die #1:Each person rolls and then passes to the next one, making certain that, per the instructions, no one is left out. Simple, yes. Easy? Well not for us, since that level of introspection in public isn't a habit.
"What is the best thing that happened to me today?"
"What am I grateful for today?"
"What was challenging for me today?"
"Whose heart did I cheer today?"
"How was I of service today?"
"What did I learn today?"
"Stand up to answer."
"Choose someone to answer."
"Close your eyes to answer."
"Sing or chant your answer."
"Whisper your answer."
I think Life Dice would be a great family activity, since all ages can participate on a relatively even footing. For adults, this might be a good closing activity for team building, once group rapport is in place. In our case, we were among fairly close friends, and still a bit hesitant in a social setting usually given to shallow conversation. What I'm saying is that exploring and applying virtues to one's personal life might be expected in a religious or philosophical study class, but maybe not so much at a party.
Bahá'ís have the goal to bring themselves to account every evening, meditating on progress towards personal character development. And we are supposed to raise up children with similar understanding of the importance of and commitment to building virtues. As a family activity, say after dinner or just before bedtime, Life Dice could help build that habit of self-evaluation. I do wish I'd had something like this when I was raising children!
Playing does take a bit of practice to manage such large cubes. Struggling to toss the things did provide an icebreaker for us up-tight grown-ups, causing giggles and good-natured advice as we missed the table top or didn't achieve much of a roll. Practice did help.
Life dice is not just another game of religious doctrine or ethics. It's another inspired idea from Special-Ideas.com. This is one of those deceptively simple--and inexpensive--games that can be thought provoking and build much deeper relationships than one expects from a game. For those who are too young to be keeping journals, it helps set the tone and the filter for self-evaluation, plus lets them know that they are not alone in the daily struggle.
All good stuff, right?
* I am not affiliated with the publisher or author and the game was purchased for personal use.
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