Friday, March 18, 2011

Olivia the Winner

Olivia liked to play games. Olivia liked to win at a games. To Olivia, rules were things that could easily be changed if it would help her to win at a game. Other people, however, had to play by the rules of the game or at least by Olivia's rules.

One afternoon, Olivia wanted to play a game.  She saw her brother, Joe. He was sitting on the living room couch with the TV on. "Joe, will you play a game with me?" she asked.

Joe shook his head. "Sorry, Livy." he said. "I've got homework." He quickly turned off the TV and  hurried out of the room. Olivia stared after him. What was with him? Joe was never in a rush to do homework.

She went into her sister's room. Her sister was lying on her bed staring dreamily at a poster of her favorite movie star. "Jenny, play a game with  me." begged Olivia.

Jenny sat up quickly. "Oh," she said. "I forgot I have to help, Mom." she raced out of the room.

Olivia shook her head. Everybody sure was acting strange today. First Joe wanted to do homework. Then, Jenny wanted to help Mom. Usually these were things they had to be forced to do. What in the world was going on? She wandered into the kitchen. Her Mom was sitting at the table paying bills. Olivia didn't see Jenny. She turned in a circle. She looked under the table.

"Olivia, what are you doing?" asked her mother looking confused.

"Looking for Jenny." she answered still under the table.

"She's not here."  replied her mother. "So you can come out from under that table." she added with a smile. She gave Olivia a hand and helped her slide out from under the table.  Olivia plopped into a chair. Suddenly, everything made sense to her, and it wasn't good. She frowned and puffed out her lower lip as though she were about to cry. "What's wrong?" asked her mother sitting down beside her.

"Jenny isn't helping you, and I bet Joe isn't doing his homework either. They just don't want to play a game with me. Nobody wants to play a game with me!"

"Well, I am sure that is not true." replied her mother trying to make her feel better.

"Yes, it is!" yelled Olivia. "In school nobody wants to play a game with me either. Not Angie or Nancy or Benny or anybody. I asked them all, and they all said 'No'. Nobody likes me! Nobody wants to play with me!" she tried to run out of the room, but her mother grabbed her and held her tight.

"I am sure that is not true either." said her mother gently easing Olivia on to her lap.  "Why do you think people might not want to play games with you?"

"I'm too good for them," replied Olivia proudly. "I always win."

Her mother nodded her head. "That's right." she agreed. "You always do win.Wouldn't it be nice if other people had a chance to win sometimes too?" 

 Olivia stared at her mother as if her mother was a creature from another planet. Why in the world would it be nice if other people won sometimes? It wouldn't be nice for Olivia. She was the game playing champion. She always won. "But I hate losing!" she insisted finally.

"Maybe other people don''t like losing either." suggested her mother. "If you lost all the time would you want to play?" Olivia shook her head. She had never thought about it that way. If she was always the winner that meant anyone she played a game with was always the loser. Nobody wanted to lose all the time. No wonder nobody wanted to play with her.

From that day on, Olivia still liked to play games. She still liked to win at games, but she didn't always win at games. She always played by the rules of the game and never made up her own rules. Win or lose, she always played fair and she always had plenty of people who wanted to play games with her.

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