Chess: Greater than a Game
Chess is Good
Dedicated to my Father, Happy Birthday! Love ya man!
My father taught me how to play chess when I was a kid; I wasn't more than nine years old at the time. In a way, chess embodied all the morals and values my dad had been giving me all along. Even in my twenties I think fondly of the memories I have playing my Dad over the checkered board. The focus in his eyes was so deliberate and overwhelming, that at times I thought I would lose just from watching him think.
Patience: There are few activities that can keep a boy focused for hours. My father and I played games which lasted for hours on several occasions. Early on I developed the ability to focus on an important task for hours. There are still adults out there trying to figure this one out! :)
Humble in Victory and Gracious in Defeat: My dad never took it easy on me, which made me strive for improvement. For this reason, I spent a long time learning to be gracious in defeat. This is monumental for a kid, especially in an era where everyone gets a trophy and red ink is discouraged for grading. Years went by before I ever beat him the first time. He was gracious, and through his example, I was humble.
Hard-working: Chess playing took on a life of its own for me over the years. The more I played, the more I wanted to play. By no means was I a prodigal student, but I did excel. Any game I ever won against my dad was executed from a foundation which he had built. I couldn't have asked for a more inspiring role model. He pours his heart into everything, and the results always show.
Wisdom: Chess strategy is just a drop in the bucket when I consider all the wisdom imparted to me by my father over the years. If I guide my own children half as well, then I've really accomplished something. The board game that brought us together really reinforced something very important: From it I learned how to learn! Learning is genuinely difficult without the right attitude, and I was lucky enough to have a parent setting a good example for me.
I am who I am today because of my Dad. A shared interest between a parent and their child can change everything, it's invaluable. It doesn't have to be chess, but if you do go that route you won't be disappointed!