I spent some time playing “Monster Under the Bed” with a 5YO, 6YO, and 8YO a few days ago.
The 5YO made up this game and clearly had played it before, but wasn’t exactly clear when explaining the nuances of how to play — so as you’d expect, the rest of us frequently broke the rules/ didn’t play correctly.
We talked about the Monster when we weren’t supposed to know about the Monster yet, we put things under the bed that were too big or too small, and we definitely screwed up the big reveal — which apparently happens ‘a few days ago’ but also later than right now, so….
It was surely a little frustrating for the person who created the game (and for the players, too) but wow, what a perfect metaphor for life.
We (adults/society) have created this elaborate Game of Life with so many expectations and rules and we assume (expect?) that everyone else knows how to play.
We get frustrated that children don’t follow the rules — but we forget that we’ve had decades of practice.
We feel defeated when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations — but we often skip the important step of actually explaining (and asking for someone to agree to) what we think those expectations look like.
Sometimes, we even say that something is Not Scary when clearly it is Very Scary Right Now.
No wonder the Monster Under the Bed seems a little grumpy.