Schooled by Monopoly

A couple of weeks ago, my eight-year-old son played his first game of Monopoly.* He played with me, his dad, and one of his aunties, Amelia.

When results were tallied at the end of the game, Amelia and I were shocked to discover Li’l D had won. We each remembered him buying one or two properties, in contrast to the 10-12 his dad confirmed he’d actually bought.

Thanks to having read portions of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, I quickly grasped what had happened. Continue reading “Schooled by Monopoly”

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Being Human

Many times over the last year or so, I’ve wondered: What one thing do I wish everyone knew? What one thing, if known, could make a better world possible?

I’ve come up with a hundred answers. Each time, I can find more counterarguments than arguments to support a given answer, so I discard it.

Finally, last week, I landed on a one-thing with few worthy counterarguments.

Over the last couple of weeks, my third-grade son has repeatedly reflected right-answer thinking. This is a kind of thinking that perceives the world in dualities instead of dimensions–yes/no, black/white, Democrat/Republican, right/wrong–and which struggles to account for systems, complexity, and the interdependencies that grow in complex systems.

So I’ve faced a question: In a social world constructed to cultivate such thinking, how does one teach other ways? How does one reveal its shortcomings in ways that can work for a third grader, especially when that third grader is stuck in a system that rewards right answers over piercing questions? Continue reading “Being Human”