Friday, February 28, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Day 28

Day 28: What's the single most important lesson you've learned while playing D&D?

Although I'd rattle off about how all the DMing experience I have has contributed to my craft as a writer, I won't. I have created so many things in the name of D&D... maps, stories, surveys, histories, villains, monsters, encounters, campaigns, outlines, flow charts, tables... the list goes on and on. Nothing I learned in the process of any of my creative endeavors strikes me as the most important.

In "real" life I'm a counselor, and I spend a lot of my time leading small groups - depending on the day, those groups could consist of kindergartners in a circle on the floor, committee members sitting in the principal's office, or parents in a conference room. Regardless of who is there, the skills I learned as a DM help me every day to lead those groups effectively. Side Note: My group therapy class helped me a lot as a DM too. It's a two way street. :-)

While those skills help, though, they aren't the most important lesson. When I started as a DM, my story was so important to me that I don't think I left much room for the players except as monster slayers and puzzle solvers on their way to fight the big bad guy. Somewhere along the way, probably from numerous articles in Dragon or Dungeon, I started seeing things differently. It isn't my world. It isn't my story. It isn't my game. It's ours, and even when I'm at the head of the table, everyone sitting there with me is just as (if not more) important than me. I might be "running things," but it is my responsibility to make sure that my players feel invested, are able to contribute, and have fun.

This lesson plays out in education every day. It isn't about my school, my lesson, or my paperwork. It's ours, and our little corner of the world of education is a much better place if everyone feels invested... if everyone can contribute... and most of all, if we all have a little fun.
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