Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: A Card Game to Boost Your Child's Emotional Intelligence

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: A Card Game to Boost Your Child's Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

When I coerced my family to play a new card game designed to nurture our empathy, the first question was: How do you win?

"Oh my god, it's not that kind of game," I said.

We're a competitive bunch. Let's just say I've been uninvited from some family game night events due to unsportsmanlike behavior involving a Taboo buzzer. Also, there may have been loud allegations of cheating leveled against certain children based on flimsy circumstantial evidence.

Never mind that. This PeaceMakers game, developed by Suzanne Tucker, a local mom and parent educator, was bound to increase our compassion and peacefulness toward one another. Who couldn't use a little more of that in their families, especially this stressful time of year?

I was a little skeptical when the game arrived. It's a colorful deck of 42 cards with cute animal illustrations and a mantra printed on each card. Granted, the target age group for the game is 3 to 9 years old. I was going to try this exercise with a 14-year-old girl, who believes in her heart that she is unspeakably cooler than anyone in her family, and an 11-year-old boy, who would rather be playing baseball or video games than indulging my empathy-building projects. Oh, and a spouse who likes to win family game nights nearly as much as I do.

The cutesy deck seemed stacked against us.

Tucker said there are no specific rules. Everyone takes turn drawing a card, reading it aloud and then saying something about what they've read. You can relate it to an experience you've had recently, a thought or desire or even sing, dance or draw in response.

It's less a game, and more a reflection time.

Um, OK, this could be interesting.

My son drew a card that said, "I stick with things and get things done." He mentioned a school assignment that had taken some time, and we agreed this card described him well.

I drew a card that said, "I am a leader." I added: Yes, I am a leader in trying to get this family to do things even though no one really listens to me. That probably wasn't in the spirit of the positive affirmations, but Tucker had told me that was no "wrong" way to play.

The girl drew a card that said, "My mistakes help me learn and grow. …

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