Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Because I Have Been Given Much...

The other day I was doing my morning scripture study when my little guy came downstairs and plopped down beside me. I decided that I may as well include him in my studies-- it can never hurt, right??? So we read together 1 Nephi 7, this is the part of the Book of Mormon where Lehi has his boys go back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael's family, because he knew those boys would need wives. ;) But what do ya know, Laman and Lemuel got grumpy again and tied up Nephi, planning to leave him in the wilderness for wild animals to snack on (YIKES.) But, Nephi was smart and prayed to the Lord and asked Him to help him get out of this predicament. The Lord did bless him, and the bands were loosed and Nephi was safe for now!

I asked my son why he thought the Lord did that? And he answered "Even when you are in the hardest spots, Heavenly Father can always get you out." WOW-- outta the mouth of babes. He's right ya know... He loves me, and He loves you and He preforms miracles every day to help us out! And a lot of times those miracles come through someone else!  ;)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shattered Dream

It can be a joy to watch your child’s dreams get shattered…if you’re ready for it…

Please welcome guest blogger Bryun Lemon

As a father, husband, and owner of Chapter Three Games, I think about games a lot. 
After years of playing, designing, selling and watching others do the same with 
games, I’ve seen my share of people who try to win at all costs and miss the whole 
point of the game. You see, when we worry only about winning, we fail to learn 
valuable lessons and miss out on treasured memories with loved ones. This was 
made very clear to me when I watched my son’s dreams get shattered and it made 
us all laugh and smile. Now, before you post your scathing rebuke of my callous 
attitude, it’s important to understand what happened.

For my son, this dream destruction came on a day like any other. It started out as a 
pretty ordinary day – we got dressed, ate breakfast together, kids left for and came 
back from school, we made small talk about homework and weather, and then our 
12-year-old son decided we should all make spaceships that night.  It sounded fun 
enough, so we decided after dinner and chores were done, we’d build some 
starships and see who the best pilot was. His dream that day was to build the perfect 
ship and to win the game.

With relatively little fanfare, the chores managed to get finished, the gauntlet throw-
downs about who was going to win began, and the epic shipbuilding contest started. 
Or, in layman’s terms – we started playing a board game that happened to be about 
building and flying spaceships.

For this particular game, everybody would become a starship captain building their 
vessel from junk parts (cardboard game tiles) and then brave the dangers of space 
(the game board) with our crews (little plastic spacemen) fighting off pirate attacks 
and meteors (event cards that we’d turn over) and become the best pilot in the 
galaxy (the one with the most money at the end of the game).!

The game had the usual light-hearted taunting and trash-talking that our family 
enjoys, right up until the end. My son had created his shipbuilding masterpiece and 
was on par to clobber us all (a fact that he reminded us of at least 542 times that 
night). By all means, it looked like his bragging was justified…until an unlucky dice 
roll caused him to lose half his ship to a meteor swarm. The next card was a fleet of 
pirates that managed to take out most of what was left, and by the last turn my son’s 
masterpiece was nothing more than a cockpit and a rocket.  The majestic battleship 
he had constructed with the hopes of winning the game had been reduced to 
cardboard rubble in a few short turns.

And you know what he did in the face of this terrible dream-shattering tragedy? He 
laughed. He started joking about the race ending and his little pilot flying across the 
finish line with a steering wheel on a rocket-barrel. By the time we were done 
playing, we had spent the evening laughing, joking and teasing the ill-fated captain. 
And our family had created a memory that we still laugh about today.

So why bring this up in a forum about missionaries? Because what happened at that 
table - before and after that night – can be a powerful tool to prepare our kids for a 
world that’s ready to gobble them up. This was even more evident when I watched 
that same son playing with a friend a few months later.

I don’t even remember the game their group was playing, but I do remember the 
tantrum from one of the neighbor kids. This young boy was screaming and  trying to 
pop the veins in his forehead over some horrific rules breach and was busy storming 
off in protest when my son turned to the rest of the group with a shrug and asked 
what they were playing next. His teammate had stormed off, his team had lost, and 
he just shrugged it off!

Now, don’t get me wrong - everybody loves to win. It’s easy to have fun when we’re 
winning. We all know this. Part of playing games, however, means we’re not always 
going to win. Some kids learn this and have fun no matter what the final score is. 
Others never learn this and only enjoy games when they’re ahead.

And this is why playing games is so important for kids as they’re working towards 
adulthood. The way we handle games as a child becomes the pattern for how we 
handle games and life events as adults (college, dating, employment, missionary 
service, et al). As parents, we all know that the events that turned out like we hoped 
are a fraction of those that end up becoming a ‘learning experience’ for us (I always 
hated that phrase, even if it is just that). Children need an environment where wins 
and losses are inconsequential…a place where they can get up from the table with 
their confidence and self-worth still intact. A lot of this comes by watching mom or 
dad’s ship (or railroad empire or plastic army) get obliterated while we laugh and 
joke about it – setting the stage for how to react to losses of all kinds.

As a missionary, I was able to see both sides of the coin in this regard. I saw 
missionaries who were able to roll with the punches of slammed doors, companion 
disputes, bible-bashing ministers and long periods of time without letters from 
home. With the same shrug that my son handled his grievous setbacks in a safe 
environment, these missionaries were able to shrug their shoulders and move 
ahead. These were the missionaries who always smiled and who seemed to enjoy 
the journey itself. Contrast that with the missionaries who threw a tantrum against 
members, companions, and even God himself when they perceived some horrific 
‘rules violation’ of how it was supposed to be. These missionaries had learned to 
enjoy the journey when they were ‘winning’ (teaching, baptizing, training a LOT of 
people), but missed the joy that was the journey itself.

As a parent, I want to see my children succeed in life. Succeeding in life doesn’t mean 
winning all the time, and often it means we lose a lot more than we should. When we 
learn to handle setbacks with a shrug and enjoy the trip, we will succeed at what 
matters most. When we teach our kids to shrug off the small setbacks in life - losing 
your fortune because the dice put you on Park Place with hotels, coming in last lace 
because you had to draw 4 cards three turns in a row, or having your invincible 
battlecruiser destroyed by space pirates – it teaches them to shrug off the larger 
setbacks they will certainly face – losing a job, being dumped by a fiancĂ© days before 
a wedding, or having an investigator call off a baptism and ask the missionaries to 
stop coming over.

And so, coming back to those shattered dreams…

How wonderful it is to be able to watch your child’s dreams be shattered in a safe 
place, with plastic and cardboard as the casualties! When this happens, we know 
they’ll be ready for the hard times they’ll run into as missionaries – opening a new 
area with nobody to teach, a ‘dear john’ waiting in their inbox, or a companion who 
likes to sleep in until noon every day. When that time comes (and as parents, we 
know it will), imagine how nice it will be for that missionary to remember the 
laughter his family shared as his prize warship was destroyed by cardboard meteors 
and plastic pirates…

…and he’ll shrug his shoulders as a man with the same resolve he did when he was 

About the author: Eight kids call Bryun Lemon “dad”, one beautiful lady calls him 
“dear” and everyone at his company - Chapter Three Games - calls him…Bryun. 
Bryun took something he enjoyed growing up (board games) and combined it with a 
desire to create something to being families together. When he started Chapter 
Three Games with the mission statement “It’s not about the games we make, it’s 
about the people who play them” became the focus for why they were doing this. 
The latest game, Five Minute Delivery, is a game that gives families without a lot of 
time (that’s pretty much all of us) a way to spend time with each other. They are 
running their Kickstarter for Five Minute Delivery through August, and the link to 
check it out can be found here: