Young learning a lesson from the old
The game not only helps sharpen the child’s mathematical skills, but it also acts as a tool for enriching individuality and building character from a young age
ONE or two truly uplifting stories came my way recently. What makes these stories interesting is that they concern older people as well as children, but the older enhance the quality of life of the younger, and not the other way round, which is often the case. Another point of interest is that they are not merely older; they have passed their 80th birthdays.
There is 80-year-old Norman Fredericks who tells the touching tale of how it happened that he became a champion against drug abuse. After the son of a friend of his died at the age of 29 due to drugs, he started thinking about what he could do to help people fight that scourge. He developed a board game, Millionaire in the making, to equip parents with the skills they need to turn their children into thinking individuals. The game is also directed at children between the ages 6 and 16, and aims at teaching them financial wisdom and healthy ambition, to choose their friends wisely, and to cultivate discipline.
Fredericks says: “Not only does the game help with sharpening the child’s mathematical skills, but it also acts as a tool for enriching individuality and building character from a young age.”
The game is uncomplicated and is easily understood by the young child. It is divided into two parts. One part focuses on the building of character, while the other part is aimed at teaching the art of becoming a millionaire.
There are 12 cards, each representing a month of the year, and there are affirmations written on each card.
There are five dice and a job and salary chart. The job chart consists of basic chores, marked from one to 30. Every day the child has to do a chore based on the sum of the figures the five dice land on.
The parents must then give a small amount of money to the child which, says Fredericks, will motivate the child to do the chores daily.
While I am in full support of using games for teaching and learning, I do have a problem with monetary rewards for the completion of chores.
Children, I feel, should be taught from an early age that the completion of chores is the responsibility of all members of a household, that a home functions efficiently and happily when all its members make a contribution, such as completing chores.
I pause at the word chore. It comes easily to speak of household chores.
The word chore, says my dictionary, means a routine or tedious task, especially a household one. And this is how many of us understand the word chore, especially if its connotation is that of tedium.
Yet, without the completion of chores, households cannot function, or function properly.
People such as Fredericks must be lauded for devising and developing games that stimulate the minds of children, and enhance teaching and learning.
Another older person I laud today is Arnold Hendricks who, at 83, is totally committed to serving his community. Every Thursday he runs a soup kitchen from his church, which is at his home.
He also does home visits to the elderly and counsels youth about the danger that face some people who involve themselves with others who do not contribute meaningfully and in positive ways to the life of a community.
According to the news report I read about his work, Hendricks “risks his life talking to gangsters and praying for them and is a beacon of hope for those who are suffering from domestic violence”.
For more than 40 years Hendricks has been active in his community. “I really love what I do. I believe for a better community one has to get one’s hands dirty.
“I cannot say I will help and be scared to go where the problems are. If needs be, I talk to the gangs. I show them the way. I walk around the community, giving hope and helping where I can because I love my community. I want to see everyone live a better life.”
Fredericks and Hendricks must be lauded for the differences they make in the lives of members of their communities.
And it is thanks to the community paper I receive weekly that I learnt about their efforts and achievements. Their efforts and achievements and, yes, love for the community of people like that of Fredericks and Hendricks, come to me via my community paper. And that is what a community paper should be doing, I believe.
What makes the efforts and achievements of Fredericks and Hendricks so remarkable is, apart from their outstanding efforts and achievements, the fact that they are not only “older people” but are of greatly advanced age – both more than 80 years old.
Undoubtedly, many people who think they might reach this milestone, think that that would mark “retirement”.
Fortunately for us, people such as Fredericks and Hendricks did not think about “retirement”.
There are of course others who make remarkable contributions to enhance the lives of members of their communities.
The endeavours and achievements of all these persons cannot be reported on, but we should remember that there are those people and, even if we do not know their names, or know what their contributions are, we should think about these unknown and unnamed men, women and children in our communities.
This is what community means – we are each and every one not simply living isolated lives – we are in community with others or, as we learnt in Sociology 101, human beings are by nature communal beings. We cannot live meaningful human lives without the other.
OCTOGENARIAN: Norman Fredericks, who created the game ‘Millionare in the making’.
SMART MOVE: ‘Millionare in the making’, the board game devised by Norman Fredericks.