Points are Free

For many summers, Tom was a camp counselor. Over the years I’ve enjoyed hearing what I’m sure have been sanitized versions of his stories from that time (I’ve seen Meatballs).


One of the many lessons that I have taken away from these stories is what they taught new counselors: When creating new games, remember that points are free.

The sports leagues dish out points like they are made of precious metals. None of them go into even double digits for a single scoring type. Perhaps higher scores could make some sports seem like they were moving faster.

My lack of creativity means I haven’t had an opportunity to put this pearl of wisdom into action… yet. Over the years I’ve led many games as a way to reinforce HR refresher trainings. Boring worker’s comp or sexual harassment rule overviews are almost enjoyable when they are made interactive with Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune final review sessions – with baked goods as rewards. But since those games were knock offs of established tv shows, they had built-in point structures.

I came up with some games when the nephews were very little, but points would not have worked when my audience was a one- and four-year-old. I managed to get them to sit (relatively) still with their legs out so we could touch feet as a barrier while we rolled the ball to each other. I was astonished at my success even when most of that cooperation was actually showing off either flexibility or different methods of “accidentally” rolling the ball into the cat instead of to a family member.

But wait, I thought of the best way to implement Tom’s lesson: I don’t need to give points to someone else, since I can keep them all for myself! I can get points for finishing a row on my rag rug, or for any of the other projects I have been putting off. Next year submitting my taxes in February will earn me a million points, but it drops to only half a million in March, and down to zero for getting them in by the deadline. Self motivation through points. What a wonderful idea!

What do you do to motivate yourself? Or What lessons have you taken away from stories your parents tell?

2 thoughts on “Points are Free”

  1. “Points are free.” I love that! And since many of us are better at deducting points from ourselves being hyper-critical, how much better to shower ourselves with points!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s