Everyone needs a plan

Texting about dating violence in Crossroads game

Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

Richard Cushing

Before I was president of a software company, I was the world judo champion. It’s true. You can look it up in Wikipedia. I also ran track in college. Since then, I have coached hundreds of kids.

What does this all have to do with games to teach decision-making?

I’ve told players a thousand times,

When you’re in the middle of a match is not the time to think of your strategy.


What Crossroads: New Decisions and Crossroads: Options do is put players in situations in a virtual world where they can think about what they would do if they had to get away from an abusive relationship or were stuck in the middle of a party that’s gotten out of hand.

Maybe you’ve never thought very much about who you could go to stay with for a few days if you need to get out of a bad situation. Perhaps you’ve never really thought it through, that if you need to get away from someone right now it can be done in stages. You could go to that person who will let you stay for a week or so while you figure out what to do next.

If you’re going to be on your own some day, you need to start thinking about what bills you’ll have to pay, how much you’ll have to make each month. Next step is finding a job. How do you pick a job? Even if you’re talking entry level jobs, there are choices. Which would be a better fit for you?

Where do you draw the line that someone is just bad news and you don’t want them in your life?

When you’re in an emotional situation, whether it’s dating violence or trying to figure out how to get home when you’re in the middle of nowhere and all of your friends are wasted, that’s not when you’re going to make your best decisions.

Does having thought about the possibilities in advance guarantee you’ll always make the right choice?

No, of course not, just like planning a strategy in practice doesn’t guarantee you will win. I can promise you this, though – it will improve your odds.

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