- Simon says raise your left hand.
- Simon says raise your right hand.
- Put both hands down.
- Sorry, you’re out. Simon didn’t say that.
As a kid, I remember playing the game in school and at different camps I attended. I also used to play it while I was a teacher. Simon Says was always a big hit. And believe it or not, even here in prison, it still is a big hit!
The last four weeks I’ve been attending the drug and alcohol program that is offered in our compound. Because I am one of the newer guys, I had to take a turn to organize the “upbeat ritual.” An upbeat ritual is really just an ice-breaker. Upbeat rituals are various types of games that are chosen to be played to get the other inmates in the program involved in something together. The upbeat ritual is done at the end of our large group session called “Community.” There are about ninety inmates in this session and it takes something really extraordinary to get everyone’ attention. The upbeat ritual is to be fun, get many people interested and, hopefully, provide some laughs at the end of the session.
Last week it was my turn to organize the upbeat ritual. The last four weeks we usually were given trivia questions by the one in charge; after a while, that gets to be boring and long drawn out. It was time for a change! I chose “Simon Says”. Before I told everyone what we were going to do, I asked for fifteen volunteers. Surprisingly, fifteen people volunteered immediately with no begging on my part. Then I told them we would be playing Simon Says. Nobody expected to hear that! I explained the rules……yes, there were some who had never played before….and I began giving out instructions. I started saying things very slowly, with time in between each command, but then got faster and faster as the game went on. One by one, someone would get knocked out because they didn’t listen closely. I would also confuse them at times by giving a command but then doing the opposite thing myself. For instance, I would tell them to touch their head, but I would touch my stomach.
Watching fifteen grown men of every size, shape, color and age playing a child’s game of Simon Says in prison was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long while. I doubt if any of them would be caught playing the game outside the prison walls. They all looked like robots, with such serious faces, moving their arms up and down at the same time. They were really into the game and didn’t want to lose. Those who were watching were laughing uncontrollably. When someone would get out of the game, the others would heckle them all the way back to their seat and got them to laughing more.
Finally with four volunteers remaining I used the old trick of having everyone scoot together if they were still in the game. And all four fell for it. You see, Simon didn’t say to do that…..so they were all out. Game Over. Those who were watching laughed the hardest of all. Hopefully, each one will remember playing the child’s game of Simon Says. I know I will remember it for a long time.
When I think of the game Simon Says and compare it to my everyday life, all I can think about is that God is my Simon and when He says something I need to listen. He does give us instructions and tells us how to live and what to do in every area of life, and I must listen and follow Him. James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen.” Jesus also says in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
It’s really that simple. God’s Word, the Bible, is our guidebook. He speaks to us every day and in all sorts of ways. Be still and listen to Him. Follow His lead and direction. Trust Him. As you do what Simon says, He is looking down on you with a smile and enjoying life with you. A simple way to live and it doesn’t get much better than that.