Wednesday, June 01, 2016

My mother was ahead of her time

" 'Gamification' means turning something that previously was not a game (for example, learning to use a library) into one. The idea is that by adding fun to a previously dull task you can increase participation and learning." (ACRL, Keeping up with gamification) Ah ha! My mother was ahead of the curve on this one. Whenever she was assigning or teaching a new task she would say, "Let's make a game out of this." I was no dummy--I knew I'd be spending an hour or two of MY PLAY TIME wiping down stairs, mowing the lawn or digging potatoes. To this day I don't like games. But I pulled the same line on my children.

I'm not sure she how called it a game, but she divided our  rather large lawn on Hannah Avenue in Mt. Morris into four sections, and assigned it for mowing by our size, strength and age.  Eventually, as my oldest sister moved out, and my younger brother got bigger, I think the two of us probably took over most of that, and eventually it was all his. Until I found this photo of Stan mowing the lawn, I thought we always used a push mower.  When he and I were quite young and we lived in Forreston, she'd give us a tool and turn us loose on the yard to dig dandelions.  She'd sort of make a contest out out that, but also gave us a penny per plant dug up. There was no way to make snapping beans or pitting cherries into a game; we just had to suck it up and do it.  I don't recall ever being asked to help with canning; she probably thought that was too dangerous, or it was just easier to do it herself.

Stanley mowing the "back 40" in summer 1953

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