Today, we have so many apps and tools available at our fingertips. How far away is your smart phone from you right now? Maybe on the table, a docking station, or upstairs on your bed, or possibly in your hand at this very moment.
Have you ever seen someone tie a string around their finger? This old trick reminds the person that they wanted to remember something in particular and the out of place string wrapped around their finger reminds them of that memory.
Since we don’t normally keep strings on our finger, it can serve as a reminder to get something done. And we need reminders, otherwise, the day drifts into hours passed and minutes spent until the cycle completes and we witness the sun sinking behind the western wall with the same pressing feeling that we didn’t get anything done.
May I suggest setting aside all of the screens for a moment and do this one simple thing: make a list. Grab a mundane piece of paper, a blank one that allow you to freely express your handwriting. Retrieve a pen or pencil, depending on whether or not you like to scratch a hard line through your editions or buff them away with an eraser. Place the instrument on the paper.
Write anything that arrives at the top of your mind. Lay everything out on the hospitable parchment which holds all of the space for you. Without consideration, pour out your hearts desires, whether it arrives as a grocery list, unpaid bills, goals for schooling this next year, dream vacations or something you have been meaning to say to your mate. Deliver it up to the paper.
Watch in wonder, as your breathing changes. There it lies before you in honesty. Your thoughts, now in broad daylight, appear before your overarching witness. Whereas before, the jumble of activity in your brain looked more like a soup, this collection of words map out the recipe for how you think, how you dream and how you feel. Appreciate this feedback.
Finally, it all of it’s glory and imperfection. Post it. Not for anyone else to see, but give it just enough light to oblige your attention on a daily basis. You will thank that list many times over as it holds your thoughts for you. For now, my friend, your mind begins to create. Without clutter, and without encumbrance, it sets itself alight with the wings of the spirit and begins to fashion a life for you with the list in view.
Recently, I have been pondering the role of story in the game Dungeons and Dragons. When I first began to play, I realized quickly that this kind of game facilitates story telling at its finest. Images filled my thoughts of villagers gathered around an evening campfire as the elder recounts the tales of their existence, myths and legends retold, along with variations added as, generation after generation, the tribe grew.
Eventually, books held the stories and myths were lost. The books kept the story told the same way every time with little to no variation save for edition updates. I rest that there remains something powerful about stories originating from our mouth and memory.
And then we began to passively watch television, streaming shows and movies. This form of entertainment required less imagination, for along with the verbal descriptions from books, now the visual descriptions were laid out for us right there on the screen. Little if any work was asked of the listener.
Still, from oral tales around a glowing campfire to lounging on the bed staring into another glowing device, we have always been wanting to hear a good story.
With Dungeons and Dragons, and other roleplaying frameworks, we are now able to flex our myth telling muscles into crafting stories around the table. Interesting that the word myth originated from the same word used to make “mouth”. These myths we share do more than entertain, they allow us to become the creators of our own entertainment. Beyond scratching out hit points and rolling dice, storytelling games lead the way in entertainment.
This is a call to summon your imagination to the forefront and begin by prompting your adventures with friends and family around the table. Playing Dungeons and Dragons is an exercise as old as time, long before books and long after television, we will continue to tell stories.
I want to be a great listener and I thoroughly enjoy hearing people tell stories. I love playing around the table, Dungeons and Dragons because by listening actively, searching for meaning, we can share our stories to end up becoming even better listeners.
Very quickly, I say that listening includes taking in necessary data from another person, but active listening hers and searches for meaning in the words. It asks, “yes I hear and this is how what you say means something to me.” By doing so, I can help the other person feel like I’m in the story with them.
The way Dungeons & Dragons work is by using the storytelling method of “yes and”. “Yes and” simply means that I accept reality and I build upon it. But how do we make this work? The answer is to search for meaning. Ask yourself “if this reality is true then what does this mean to me?” This is IMPLICIT reality. Only listening to a description the dungeon master gives you does nothing more than store new data into your brain. But by actively listening, searching for meaning, then together, we can share stories.
Dungeon Master says, “a storm arrives on the hill.”
Players say “aha, we walk through the storm.”
The above example simply states an explicit reality. Something happens and you do something about it, and at best this informs us, but also bores us incredibly. However, Active listening takes what I describe to you and build up on it to tell a story.
Dungeon master: A storm arrives on the hill.
Bard says “I accept reality and prepare supplies so they are not damaged.”
Cleric says “I accept reality and bite on my lip for a fear being struck by lightning.”
Fighter says “I accept reality, hold up my sword and anticipate the thrill of meeting a storm giant, face to face.”
Warlock says “I accept reality and I remove my robe down to my linens, kneel down and ask forgiveness to Tempus God of the storms for my many sins.”
While not necessary to always preface your implict statements with “I accept reality”, the statement alone provides a sort of training wheel as you get used to sharing the narrative around the table. The explicit means that a storm has arrived and presents a challenge to the players, but the players take responsibility to search for meaning. This moves the story from explicit information to implicit meaning. The story continues.
In this example the dungeon master gives yet a very simple encounter as an ogre attacks the party in camp. However, we can use the same method of “yes and”, in that the players accept the reality and build upon it within a story format. Notice the similarities between the two encounters.
Dungeon master says, “oh no! an ogre attacks your camp!”
Bard says, “I accept reality and prepare to defend the ponies.”
Cleric says, “I accept reality and fear being taken alive as a meal.”
Fighter says “I accept reality and anticipate the opportunity to collect an ogre’s hide to profit in town.”
Warlock says, “I accept reality and pray to Tempus to forgive me for taking a life.”
In this example, it explicitly states that if the characters want to live, they must fight. However, the characters must search for what this information means and state the implicit reality. By using this technique of “yes, and” and then moving from explicit reality to implicit meaning brings the table from simply saying the mundane and obvious and into collaborative and exciting storytelling!
So remember, when presented with a reality say “yes, and”. Take the responsibility to search for meaning by taking the explicit information, and gift your table with a story, and share the implicit reality. If everyone performs in such a way at the table, we enjoy a sojourner’s tale of adventure.
Even if you don’t play Dungeons and Dragons, or any roleplaying games at all, I hope you can appreciate that by using these storytelling techniques, even in your own life can your communication improve. Think about it! By actively listening, you are connecting your own personal meaning and investment into the information the other person tells you. If you then use the “yes, and” method, you agree with the narrative and build upon it. You are saying, “I am playing in your reality, and I will add to it with my own meaning.” Of course this doesn’t mean that you blindly agree with every statement any more than a hero agrees with the ogre that humans taste the best over an open barbecue! By saying “yes and,” you keep the communication moving and alive, even if your following statements and actions divert from the original intention. “Yes, Mr. Ogre, you do want to cook us all up, however, I believe there is a win-win situation we can also cook up.”
Enjoy those around your table and play Dungeons and Dragons and learn to actively listen, search for the meaning and build upon a great story.
Do you have a family game night? I have heard of families getting together on a Sunday afternoon after a meal and playing cards, board games or video games. It’s hard to find something that everyone enjoys. Sometimes families simply put money towards dinner and a movie. All those are popular and fun, but think about this.
When you watch a movie or play a board game, you are being entertained. This is a form of passive entertainment. You take in the fun and that’s all well and good!
But what if you shared the creation of that entertainment with your friends and family?
Dungeons and Dragons is a collaborative role playing game. Three ways to collaborate means we engage, entertain and entrust.
When we sit around the dining room table, the coffee table or outside on the patio, we face one another and engage. Armed with a pencil, paper and imagination, you are part of the storytelling process in the game. The Dungeon Master, who operates as the storyteller, referee and other characters in the game, sets the fictional stage where each of the players around the table build upon the ideas infusing their own created characters as heroes of the tale. Each game lasts from 2-4 hours with breaks and with about 3-6 players, the most interesting and exciting adventures can unfold!
Telling stories requires your imagination, along with collectively sharing that imagination with others. This means you entertain! You may not consider yourself a comedian, but each of us have some form of creative energy whether humor, descriptions of brave deeds, revealing hidden backstories or simply sharing in the laughter. As opposed to simply watching a movie, you make the movie. Using tried and true techniques of improve such as the “yes, and” method, you actively listen to what’s going on, engage your part of the story and entertain your fellow travelers. This level of creativity rewards your brain with the feeling of success.
Most people have a fear of public speaking. Role playing games can be daunting at first because so many questions arise in our minds.
Do I have to talk with an accent?
What if l say the wrong thing?
How will I know if it’s my turn to speak?
The truth is role playing comes more natural than you think. No one around the table is trying to impress or outdo anyone, and there’s no pressure to give a stellar performance. Much like anything, practice makes your art better. The Dungeon Master should be like a guide helping your stretch your acting skills and build creativity. Remember, if you’re having fun, you’re doing it right. There’s no real “right” way to be creative. Think of it as a pool party. If you just show up, you may be nervous about getting in, but once you see others enjoying themselves, you’ll be tempted, even if to dip in your feet, to join the party.
This leads to a surprising level of trust between you, the Dungeon Master and your fellow players. We build bonds over time by telling stories around the campfire. For as long as our civilization has existed, we have told stories in one way or another. Some stories were factual, some were exaggerated for effect, some written and some transformed into memorable songs. Either way, at it’s heart, Dungeons and Dragons is primarily a way to tell stories. You become a better story teller. You become a story maker. This builds trust between those you care about the most, because you begin to ask yourself, “what stories am I telling now?” And believe it or not, this greater level of awareness happens all while you are having fun!
So, consider this your new recreation! Dungeons and Dragons can become a great family pastime and what a wonderful way to express yourself creatively. With no instrument to learn, or serious rules to memorize, you can just jump in and explore the world of role playing games.
Photos used with permission by Wizards of the Coast
The restaurant had been in full swing for almost half a year. The family friendly environment and cuisine sophistication had ushered in a variety of parties. Families of six, two high chairs and plenty of spills kept the staff busy. Couples, whether on their first night out or seasoned lovers stopped by for a relaxing and romantic evening. The menu even suggested that just about anyone from the broke college student scarfing down the chicken fried steak lunch special to the classy businessman dining on the 12 ounce Rib-eye, kept company by only his evening alcohol and paperwork. The manager, knowing lunches might slow down during the week implemented a senior’s special lunch menu. Catering to the elderly proved to be profitable as a well-known clientele visited on a regular basis. Now a couple of blue haired ladies walked in through the door, greeted by the young hostess. She couldn’t have been more than 18, but she displayed confidence in her job and had the couple seated down in their preferred booth by the window.
Once seated, the aged gentleman got up from his seat and hobbled over to the bathroom. He smiled as he past the hostess and waved hello. As he rounded the corner, a waiter, buzzing with haste, nearly crashed into the light-framed great-grandfather of seven.
“Oh, excuse me,” blushed the man. “I’m in your way.” He really wasn’t in the spiky haired kid’s way, but moving one foot in front of the other in such a precarious way caused him to linger in one spot for a substantial amount of time. The kid grunted and rocketed past him.
“Dammit, move your slow ass!” mumbled the kid way out of earshot of the gentlemen, now tugging at the restroom door. The kid knew how to complain about his customers and still make decent tips. He just talked about them behind their backs and smiled at the tables. Various ages all walked through the door, but the elderly couple, now in their 80’s, were the only ones who asked if the restaurant could turn the air conditioner down.
“You want it colder?” barked the kid. Well, it was more like a yap, however still resembled the tone you use when you’re in a hurry and not in the mood to deal with this kind of treatment.
“Old people!” He began to mock the strained voice of the lady, “ Could you turn down the air please!’ I’ll turn down the air; I’ll turn off her oxygen. Damn, I hate old people!” Snarling, he prepared the ice water with “extra lemons please” and grabbed a handful of lemons, placing them in a bowl, he stormed off back to the table—smiling, he knew how to make tips. No sooner that he tossed down the drinks, the gentleman arrived back at the table, asking if he could order a hot soup for the two of them. It took the old man about a minute and a half to get the words out. It was long enough for the kid to nod his head over dramatically as if to say…
“I get it, you want one of our two choices of soup.” he began to walk away.
…and could you bring us some napkins, please, said the man behind wrinkling eyes and a smile revealing his missing teeth. As the kid stormed off, the couple began to stare across from each other. It had been 67 years since they met, right here in this restaurant. Before it was Big Louie’s, it was The Mexican Garden and she worked weekends as a waitress. He came out with his buddies after a day at the fair and they all sat in her section. He memorized her shift, but convinced himself that he wasn’t stalking her, he just wanted to meet her in an “evasive way. You know, girls are weirded-out by guys who confront them on the spot. You gotta be smooth and act like it was fate that brought you together.” His words were interrupted by howls of laughter. “Fate, sure!” his buddies roared, “You like her man, fate or no, you can’t keep your eyes away from her.” He smiled, showing all white teeth intact and present and leaned against the table, taking it all in. This table wobbled from time to time, the restaurant wasn’t one of the classiest, mostly just served good food to the community; they were famous for their fajita plates, sizzling and tempting everyone with the smell from the grill. These characters, however, were cheap. They ordered an appetizer and kept the waitress busy bringing out complimentary chips and salsa. She arrived with a hot bowl of chips and two bowls of thick, chunky salsa. All the guys made a big deal about her coming around to their table, but one just smiled with his arms folded, leaning on the table, seated himself opposite of her, all good. She encouraged him by continuously approaching the table opposite him and laughing at all the jokes until she looked at him and then she just smiled, looked down at the table, and looked up at him to see if his gaze was still fixed on her. Yep, he’s a keeper” she mused.
“Keep .the change, young fellow, you look like you’re working hard.” His hand shook as he handed the brisk young waiter a crisp dollar bill. After an hour and a half of staring at each other, the elderly couple sauntered over to the door, past the register and waved goodbye to the young hostess. She waved back and smiled thinking the lady reminded her of her gone but not forgotten aunt and how she used to make lemonade for the kids after school. Jeremy bolted to the register and woke Sherry up from her day-dreaming.
“Did they leave me anything else up here?” Before she could answer ‘no’, he went on with his tirade, “they sat there for two hours, wasting my time with their damn cups of “fresh coffee please”, mocking the shrill voice of the lady, “all day long, I have to put up with old people.”
Sherry smiled nervously; seeing Jeremy whine about his customers was funny because he imitated them well. She’ll admit that old people were sometimes a little slow, but she wasn’t upset by them nearly as much as Jeremy was now. Now that she thought about it, Jeremy was always this upset.
“Why do you hate old peop—um, the elderly?” she asked, correcting herself.
His answer was brash and preceded with no thought, “Cause they’re slow. They take their time and they need to be in a nursing home.”
She laughed indignantly, “You don’t deserve them!”
“Yeah, well, I don’t have to, they leave me a dollar, what the hell am I supposed to do with this, pay my bills?”
“Well,” she said slowly, “you can give it to me, then.”
“Hell, no,” he said, and walked away.
The couple had been outside for a while. The elderly gentleman looked around the parking lot, fumbling his keys in his hands. “I know I parked it here somewhere,” he mumbled quietly. She called from the curb, “Donald, do you think we parked out back?” She hollered loud enough, but his hearing had been gone for a while. She knew he didn’t have to listen anymore; she remained content to listen to him and have him stare and blink at her across the dinner table, but she called out anyway, mostly because she was afraid of the silence. She knew nothing was going on in his head, however, his memory had really gone downhill the last few years. It wasn’t the first time she waited by the curb, cold, tired of standing, looking on as her proud man stood baffled in the parking lot, pretending to fumble with his keys. Donald began to sweat. He had been forgetting more often and it bugged him not to know why, but he would just forget. No occasion, no correlation, just a plain old fashioned memory lapse-he hoped. He had heard plenty about Alzheimer’s, affecting mostly folks over 80, 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Warnings flooded his mind as he recalled the T.V. shows he watched in horror as the white-haired men slowly lost their minds and couldn’t even remember their own names, to the dismay of the heartbroken family. He remember hearing the warnings from magazines and talk shows about how to prevent memory loss, although no one is completely immune to losing memory, it just happens. He wiped his bald head with his handkerchief and began to mutter out loud, mixing curses and prayers together, frozen on the parking lot where no one could help him, he’s lost his memory, and his wife is standing on the curb.
“The curb!” He drove around back where the wheelchair ramp allowed for avoiding the curb step. Her walk was getting weaker, but they had managed to spend time on the town, especially here at this restaurant, because they had a nice wheelchair ramp which they could both walk up with ease. He turned around with a boyish grin and hollered, “Margie, I parked the car next to the wheelchair ramp, if that doesn’t beat all, I thought I was losing it there for a second.”
“Oh dear, I’m so silly, I should have thought of that,” she echoed in apology.
“No, it’s my fault” he replied, “for a second there, I forgot that I parked over there, yes, there it is right there,” he breathed those last words out a little slower as his heart rate dropped back down to normal. He didn’t know how he remembered, or how he forgot for that matter, but he made a promise to himself that for Margie’s sake, he would help himself to remember from now on, even if it meant tying strings around his finger looking like a crackpot professor, he wouldn’t forget again.
As they drove home, she remembered how it was when they were dating. He continually stopped by her parent’s house. He always wanted to take care of her and reminded her of her father, and the way he cared for the family. They had five children together, although one of them died in a miscarriage. They heard plenty of ideas of why the child didn’t make it, but were never given a definite reason. One thing was for sure: she received every bit of emotional support that he could give. He cared for her during that hard time. He was always a sensitive man. His mother was ill most of her life, he grew up learning to care of folks. Maybe that’s why she married him. She looked over at his skinny frame, once built tough and hard: he worked a lot. His eyes were fixed on the road, “just like him”, she thought, “always focused, always keeping his eyes on the road.” She loved his curly black hair. He was mostly bald now except for the the hair around this temples. She had lost her hair too, but it grew back. On her sixty-second birthday, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The treatment had been rough on her body, but she had the support of her children. Most of the help, however, came from her husband. He seemed to thrive in crisis. He told her, “Baby, it’s okay to be emotional all you want, I’ll take care of you.” And he had, and remained her friend. She patted her soft, wool hair as they pulled in the driveway. She had a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. It seems all of their outings nowadays related to their declining health. They both walked up the dusty driveway and onto the front porch where their cat, stretched it’s lithe body along the welcome mat, looking up as if to say, “What took you so long?”
People fund their livelihood by perpetuating ideas in the garden of their minds. These ideas feed us. We need them. We need to believe. But the idea that feeds me may not be your nourishment. I taste another idea from your garden and consider it’s taste. After a day or two, I consider its effect on my body, my mind and my soul. I sell your ideas that grew from a garden in your mind connected to another’s garden. Another tastes. Another is nourished. Over time, we perceive whether or not the idea not only feed us, but also regenerates the minds from which it grew.
We move. We live. We have our being.
Ideas are like seeds. You hold them in your hands to plant in your mind. Be aware of what grows. Not all that holds sweet heals and not all things bitter poison. Sample all the flavors of nature, both bitter to heal, sweet to laugh, sour to cleanse and salty to incite. Balance ideas and grow many samples, allow them to nourish each other from within and your practice outside will produce wholeness.
Blending the tabletop role playing game Dungeons and Dragons into strong and positive education for children
Parents possess so many opportunities for their children to be successful. As you search for activities for your child this summer, consider getting them involved in Dungeons and Dragons. Let me share three values of playing this well-established tabletop role playing game.
What is tabletop role playing?
Peer over the edge of your imagination.
One of the questions I am asked when talking about Dungeons and Dragons is “what kind of video game is it?” Most people imagine children glued to a screen and nothing could be further from the truth! If video games are your thing, then have a blast, but if you are looking for something for your child which involves more social connection, then consider tabletop role playing. Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, is a simple game where people gather around a table and tell a story. At most the supplies you need are pencil, paper and a polyhedral dice called a “d20”.
Make a choice in game, and roll the dice! The higher the number, the more successful you are. The lower the number, well, time to think of another solution.
Wizards of the Coast, founded 30 years ago, are constantly improving upon the content they release and with the 2014 5th edition update, the books and manuals are geared towards a more diverse audience. The clean artwork captures imagination and the instructions read like a choose your own adventure novel. My 9 year old son has plenty of the content memorized and let me tell you, he reminds me of the rules to the game frequently! If you are a long time player, or brand new to the scene, many parents, like myself, are wanting to get their children involved in such as beloved pastime.
In our over stimulated world, we can quickly become isolated. While our smartphones hold our attention, our family tables are left empty. Although we have plenty of wireless connection, people are now less connected than ever. Whatever happened to simply getting together and enjoying each other’s company? Look around, we even have products like Yondr, which are designed to create “cell phone free spaces” so that people can enjoy live entertainment once again. Being present can a problem.
Dungeons and Dragons requires you to be present to play! Much like an afternoon softball game, if you play the field, you remain present your teammates.
The game begins by one person called the dungeon master (DM), setting up a storyline in a make believe world. After the DM sets the stage full of a world with history, interesting locations, fascinating people and problems to solve, then the game is ready to introduce the player characters (PCs). In case you were wondering, Wizards of the Coast produces great story lines like Dragon of Icespire Peak , ready for you to read and play through to completion. If your kids enjoy chasing after dragons, then this story will hold their attention.
Next, we introduce players, individuals who take on certain roles in a group called a party. One player may act as a guide, while another acts as a champion. Another player takes on the role of a healer in case anyone is injured while another player acts as the plucky comic relief, making up songs and cheering everyone up when times get sad. I have described to you some of the job descriptions or classes any PC make perform, such as a ranger, fighter, cleric and bard. When you mix in that fantasy worlds of the imagination often times include more than humans, you now have a party of an elf ranger, a dwarven fighter, a human cleric and a hobbit bard. You can imagine what kind of hero your child will want to play! Much like popular stories such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, each actor plays a different kind of character to balance out the skills of the party. With each session lasting anywhere from 2 hours to an entire day, people spend time together, creating memorable stories.
This brings us to another value of the game. In D&D, players collaborate, rather than compete with each other. Everyone can take on the hero role, and everyone can win as long as they listen. While most board games involve individuals vying for power, money and spaces on the boardwalk, Dungeons and Dragons has always been about players working together to solve logical problems.
Children practice arithmetic and logic in a group game
For example, if our party comes across a drawbridge manned by hideous monsters, each of the players indicate what their character would do in that situation. The ranger would scout ahead looking for a secret way in, the fighter would stand their ground and protect the party, the cleric would hold back some healing power in case one of their comrades needed aid and the bard would taunt the enemy, seeking to distract them. This kind of play promotes active listening. D&D allows each player to talk around the table, scribble notes and spur each other on much like friends telling ghost stories around a campfire. While one player shares, the others listen and from there, plan their next action. This kind of play promotes children learning to listen to the dungeon master and each other and therefore developing empathy, understanding and teamwork.
Of course, this highlights another value. Dungeons and dragons teaches children how to problem solve. The dungeon master works to set up a verisimilar conflict in a simulated world. Sometimes this problem involves a trap door in a dungeon, a small village threatened by an incoming tornado, or a city guard needing convincing to aid in setting the prisoner free. Keep in mind, a life of adventure poses many challenges throughout the average day! After perceiving the problem, each player goes around the table generating ideas and discussing how they plan to rectify the situation. Much like the improvisational music of jazz or blues, each player needs to show up in the scene if they want to support each other. In role playing games, each child plays a part to create a good story worth telling over and over again.
Dungeons and Dragons makes for great education!
Lastly, on a personal note, as a first time player in 2017, I introduced Dungeons and Dragons to my children, ages 5-9, both boys and girls. I noticed their love for reading and writing skyrocketed over one summer adventure we played together. Dungeons and Dragons was like rocket fuel to their education. Whether it was math or language arts, every subject improved the more they played. Without any prompting, they spent their days drawing maps, writing stories and stapling the pages together to make little books. And when we were done, they then spent time outside, acting out the adventures once again. Their attention span increased. They found a love for reading books to each other and this filled my heart with joy. In a world where we increase our connection to screens, I express gratitude to this game of storytelling. Dungeons and Dragons has helped me and my children connect to each other. My family will be upholding this value for a long time.
About 6 years ago, I began searching for the dictionary definition of “introvert”, which led me to find the definition of “extrovert” and 4 hours later, I had wondered how I made it this far in life without the map of Meyer’s Briggs to navigate in life.
I made a hard attempt to understand people, especially those I may influence on a daily basis, like my wife, kids, birth family and so on out from there. There are tons of resources and perspectives out there on personality, but the one I gratefully hitched my wagon to was http://www.personalityhacker.com
I consumed their podcasts, (and quite a few of their products!) all day long, and enjoyed what would have otherwise been windshield time on the road. I learned not only about introversion and extraversion, but brace yourself, there are many types of the two. And even deeper I dug, to find that certain parts called cognitive functions stacked in different orders were responsible for the emergence of different personalities.
Also, I made some friends, which is an interesting phenomenon to feel a connection with someone in your earbud that you have never really met. But although that brings along warm and fuzzy feelings, what I really wanted to share today is my conversation with my children.
“Who can tell me what “competence” is?” They scrunched their eyebrows as if trying to recall one of those really big words they learned in school. “Competence is doing something really well.” Their eyes brightened and locked onto the definition dad handed them.
“ISTJ children find it very important that their parents believe them to be competent. And they don’t often “act” like kids running amuck, but rather position themselves to be the first when an adult says something like, “I need a helper.”
I believe I may have one of these little creatures in my care, which is characterized by the enlightening statement from them, “Dad, when people cry I don’t feel anything!”
I hope I do well to help them navigate the complex world of feelings and emotions that I, for example, have not had much difficulty understanding. But now, I am charting territory and creating language to help these practical folks describe their feelings.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention by newfound internet friend and resource Susan http://www.psychologyjunkie.com who helps people, especially little ones and their parents, understand the world of personality.
Check them out! Enjoy who they are and what they bring to the world. Seeking first to understand, and begin by listening.
A heavy winter rain began to fall as the travelers plowed through the muddy street. In this small village of peasants and farmers, the people toiled daily and the weariness flowed through every interaction.
The town mayor, a humble looking man in his forties, hailed from the tavern, welcoming them into the dry and warm community center. After warming themselves between the keg tap and the hearth, the mayor spoke quietly.
“It all started last year, slowly, but I remember, one of our farmers reported missing livestock, not just small goats, but even his cattle. In this village, even the smallest report of a missing animal warrants attention. But after a month, we heard no more.”
Quenlin peer from behind his mug of a stout brown drink, questioning the look in the man’s eyes, searching for sincerity. He seemed and honest and sane man.
The mayor continued, “but then, everything changed. Many reports of livestock missing and then, finally,” he paused here and quickly scanned the room, “people started to go missing. We don’t know how or why, or if they’re alive, or not. But we need help. I sent the letter to our lord in Chisdale, and as I understand, here you’ve come.”
At this, Strom leaned forward with a confident expression and pride in his voice, “We help the weak, seek out oppression all over this land. We will gladly help.” His weathered face dealt kindness towards the mayor, despite its grizzled features. Yasbagee answered her fellows remark with, “this should be good, I’ve been wanting to hunt something down for a couple of months now. My blades are getting thirsty.”
One thing I have noticed in these tales of bravery and adventure is that despite threat of death, these characters always find themselves staring down a haunted mine, or looking into a menacing swamp, and then they just walk in!
The point being that motivation makes people move. Otherwise, we continue on with our lives without risking danger or threat. No one in their right mind would enter the cave unless they had a higher motivation than self – preservation.
I think one of the reasons D&D captivates our attention is that we get the chance to risk life and limb through the characters strength and valor, but truly our own as well. Most stories involve rescuing a village from terror, retrieving magic artifacts to keep evil from obtaining them, or pulling off a stunt to stop an evil lord from rising to power. I have learned this is what is categorized as an “epic” campaign. Classic good vs evil storyline.
Everyone one of us has a point where we say, “enough.” Adventures are simply those of us who respond first. None of the D&D characters I have met in the Forgotten Realms or Middle Earth would I ask to baby sit or mow my lawn, but upon news of an invading army of bloodthirsty orcs, these battle worn travelers would be the first I would call.
I think I sometimes view myself as that mayor. I see the problems, I feel the pain of the people, but at the end of the day, the most I can offer is asking for help. Maybe that’s something else I have learned: if you have enough peril, and sometimes enough gold or bartering, a hero will answer your call for help and maybe teach you how to draw your blade.