Kids at play

Watching kids at play is a very inspiring experience. You can see the life, the universe and everything else summarized in a few moments to remember.

You can see the born leaders. Some of them are the strongest, whose pals are following because of fear, or because of a secret envy. Most of them lead because of a natural charisma, the same that built Star Trek Captain Kirk.

You can see the conformists, who seek comfort in a world week delimited by the rules of the game. They feel good because someone built rules they can follow, and they’re really happy to do so. They actually love the rules more than the game or the fun it brings.

You can see the explorers. They were roaming the world way before Dora on drugs started to talk to her map. They play to discover the world around them, always looking for the next hill.

And you can see those who break the rules every time they play, but not for the reasons you think about.

I’m not sure how it is in the US, UK or everything else in the world, but most French kids I know cheat regularly. I’m inclined to let them do so even though I catch them hand in the bag.

When I was young, I used to despise kids who cheat to win or have better grades without working. I would, however, cheat on every occasion, for the lulz, or that’s what I thought. Years later, I realized I was not playing against my pals. I was playing against the system trying to bend its rules.

I did that at school a lot. It worked because everyone would expect kids to bypass the rules to raise their grades, and I didn’t care. I was playing a much more exciting game (which once or twice involved some very stupid things I’m not really proud about)

I did it at play, and it involved to prepare a game of Monopoly days ahead to find where my cousins did hide the money while doing the same. I didn’t really care about winning the game, tricking each other was much more fun.

When I think about it, those who played that game were by far the smartest. We were not really cheating, not the way people would define it. We were hacking our world, building our own rules, one at a time.

Decades later, I’m father or 3. I’ve seen my 2 boys cheating since they were 2, and never crying, making a fuss or feeling ashamed when caught. They’re just hacking their world, looking how far they can bend the rules, the same way I used to.

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