When my children were young, I devised a game called, “The Know/No Game”, to elicit some help around the house. Four boys, one girl and a Mom can generate a lot of dirty dishes, laundry and so on. At our house the game was played with a goal in mind, for example, the first player to use the word know or no, does the dishes, the second player out, dusts the furniture and so on. The rules to the game are very basic, while the game itself is much more complicated. Being an adult playing with children doesn’t mean you will always win. I washed the dishes many a time.
There are only two rules: players may not say know or no, nor indicate the same by shaking their heads – you must respond verbally. The players sit in a circle and take turns asking each other questions – that they hope will be answered with the words no or I know. The questions may be answered any way you want – no means you lose the game, while,” I hardly think so” is acceptable. The game is similar to Taboo, but with only two words.
The following is an example of how the game works: One of my sons had recently purchased a swing bike, with money he had earned on his paper route, and he was obsessed with his new ride. We had been playing the game for some time and we were all doing great. It was his sister’s turn to ask him a question. A devilish gleam sparkled in her eyes and she said softly, “Can I ride your bike?” An earsplitting, “NO” echoed through the house and his face fell, as he realized he had been duped by a girl.
It wasn’t until after my children were grown that I realized what the game had taught us. The game taught us to assert ourselves effectively, to be good listeners, and to ask valid questions. More importantly, the game can teach all of us a lot about the way peer pressure works and how to respond to it.
“The Know/No Game” is a powerful tool that can help people, of any age, to “Say what they mean, and mean what they say.”