I’m creating a game called Wear My Shoes for kids ages 7-15. It will come in a small box containing cards and be played similar to Apples to Apples. Each set contains three types of cards: Characters, Scenarios, Responses.
This game will help kids learn empathy for others, especially those who are different than them. Our world could use a heck of a lot more empathy, understanding, and compassion. I believe this starts at home and in schools at a young age. This card game will be appropriate for groups of kids at home, school, or in churches. The game will help kids explore what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes. Sometimes they won’t have a card to play that says exactly the right thing, which reflects real life. It will give them words and phrases to use in situations when they need them. And for kids that live in predominately white areas of the USA, who might not be exposed to children and families different than themselves, this is a way for them to become familiar with people from all walks of life.
One thing is clear at the conclusion of this last election cycle – a good portion of the hate crimes being committed are by youth at school. We need these kids to open their hearts and minds to all different kinds of people and then hopefully teach others about kindness, inclusion, and empathy. Our future as a nation depends on it.
How Can I Help?
Thank you for asking! I need all the help I can get, especially if you are a person of color, a minority, a refugee, or anything other than 100% European white lady born in the USA, because that’s what I am and I can’t speak for anyone else. This game is only authentic if it represents real people in real scenarios in real places. Kids are smart and they’ll know if I just make up some fake people in fake scenarios having fake conversations.
This game will be more relatable for kids if the characters are youth. They’ll be able to identify with what’s happening to that character more if it’s closer to their own ages. The good news is, if you’re an adult now, you were once a youth! Just think back to a situation you were in where you felt uncomfortable because someone said or did something that felt sad, wrong, racist, sexist, judgemental, or all of them combined. When you submit your character and story, you can also share what you WISH someone had said to defend you or what you wish you had said to them yourself.
I need to hear about real places and real things that were said by real people. You can fictionalize anything that would hurt someone in real life, but the bones of the person/place/words need to resonate as real. Please include your Sex/Gender and or your Religion if those things are applicable to your story.
Here’s an example of what I’m looking for:
Character Sex/Gender: Female
Character Age: 13
Scenario: One time me and my mom just got to the front of the checkout line at the grocery store and she realized she forgot her wallet at home. All the people in the line were impatient for their turn and they started mumbling under their breath about how long it was taking. A lady behind us paid for our stuff and said my mom could pay her back later because they knew each other.
Words/Phrases: Don’t worry. I’ll pay for your stuff and you can pay me back later. Everybody calm down. This is not that big of a deal.
This is a fictionalized example of something that actually happened to me. This event was not very traumatic and it had an ending that went smoothly. I’m interested in hearing all kinds of stories with all different kinds of conclusions. Our kids have been through and seen lots of situations that didn’t go so well and they need a way to understand them. And kids who have never had anything very traumatic happen to them need to try and understand what it might have been like to be in their shoes.
Are you a teacher and/or do you work with a group of kids that would be willing to share their stories? Please let me know.
Why don’t you put this on Kickstarter or GoFundMe?
I will eventually because I’ll need money to produce this game. I’ll let you know when that happens if you make a submission below.