Last night my daughter suggested we play a board game we had purchased at a thrift store but never figured out how to play.
Why not? This shelter-in-place time has been great for that sort of thing – trying things we’ve always meant to try. The game was about choice. And, I won. Most likely because it’s easy for the kids to predict what I will chose.
That idea of choice is at the heart of one of my favorite series. As an avid chapter book reader in the early 80s, I was fascinated by the “Choose your Own Adventure” books. They were written in second person, allowing the reader to become the main character, making plot choices through turning to corresponding pages. Leaving one finger on the previous page allowed readers (those of us not willing to commit) to quickly return to that moment of choice and choose differently; it was interesting to see how much a single decision could alter the plot line and ultimately the ending.
While searching for library books about positive character traits, I was thrilled to learn that this format is back! In a picture book!
Ganit and Adir Levy have begun a series called “The Power to Choose” or as the protagonist’s cape subtlety reads, “P2C.” These aren’t superhero books though. An energetic child has multiple decisions to make during the day, and those decisions directly impact the outcome of the day. More immediately than in real life, children can see how disobedience limits options and how positive choices lead to more positive outcomes.
As an added benefit, the “Power to Choose” books have the previous choice’s origination page number inside a yellow arrow-box on the bottom left corner of the two page spread, just in case the readers want to check how a different choice would have impacted the day. In the book What Should Danny Do? those choices lead to nine separate stories.
When the book first arrived (along with a hundred or so others), I didn’t have the time to read all nine versions. But what does a librarian without students in her library have time to do? The librarian gets to read!
That’s one of the blessings of this encouragement to slow down and spend more time at home. We have been given that pause button we so often have wished for.
The first two weeks were a luxury. We tried new things and had more intentional dinner times, knowing that this was just temporary. But now, with two children graduating from high school and one on the verge of a wedding, it pains me to see their lives placed on hold. And then there is the guilt of knowing that this pause button is costing some people their lives. And others their livelihood.
As I reflect on the biggest challenges of my life though, I do remember that there is joy even in the darkest days. And we shouldn’t feel guilty about finding joy in difficult circumstances. We should embrace joy whenever it comes.
I would love to hear of the joy others have experienced, or the fun new things they’ve tried – the successes and even the failures. Some of our best laughs have come through those failures. Feel free to leave me a message (or send me one) about what have you taken the time to do that you wouldn’t have done otherwise.