Published on July 4th, 2013 | by Nick0
Patience and the Gamer Dad
Having patience has always been easy for me. I just do the exact opposite of what I want to at any given moment.
But this article is about kids, and they add a whole new dynamic to patience. It’s not just about manners when children are concerned. It’s about preserving the human race! Ensuring more people in their formative years are seeing good examples of civilization and American ideals. It’s about making the world a better place.
In fact, everything you do with your children should have that underlying tenet – your children must make the world better! If not them, then who? Face it, our time is almost up and I’m not sure we were terribly well prepared for “improving” much of anything – well, except pastries…that stuff looks amazing! I guess there’s this Internet thing and cellphones, but I’m not sure any of this is really moving the needle. Most of it seems to be a new portal for us to act like entitled crybabies.
Anyway, back to the point…we dropped the ball a bit back there in the 90s and the “aughts“. (Is the “aughts” even a thing? If not, it should be. It’s got a good sound to it.) So it’s up to us to make children who are capable to clean the world’s mess up and start acting like a civilized and dominant species. Technology is nice and all – it pays my bills – but what civilization really needs is more civility. We need humans treating humans like something more than an obstacle to avoid in a giant “don’t-step-on-a-cowpie” race. I fully believe that if more people had more consideration for the thoughts and feelings of those around them the world would be better.
Yikes, it’s getting a bit too deep and way too dark…nobody likes poorly considered philosophy on a family oriented blog.
Let’s talk about video games!
You see, I’ve been making video games for more than a decade now and I play them regularly – all kinds: PC, console, mobile – and I think they are great. There are many lessons to be learned while playing games. In fact, there are some pretty good academic positions which state that games are the universal language of “life lessons”. Man, animal, hooligan, Trekker – we all use games to get ready for the big Game of Life. No, not the Milton Bradley game – the real one…where you get born, pee on yourself, play, learn, work, pee on yourself and die. That one. (I’m a level 39, BTW – L337!)
So where were we?
A glass of scotch…it’s midnight…I have two daughters who don’t seem to need sleep…a wife on antibiotics and a house undergoing renovations…I must be at the top of my game…is distraction a thing?
Oh yes! Kids….Make the world a better place…Video games…Patience.
I’ll get right to the point: Solidify your legacy of improving your planet by playing video games with your children.
Does this sound too good to be true? It probably is, but you’ve gotten this far, so indulge me.
I play any game either of my daughters want to. (I do control what she has access to so don’t you get all worked up thinking I let my children play filth like Angry Birds or Zelda Windwalker. What kind of monster do you think I am?!)
I play any game she wants any way she wants. So if in Minecraft she wants to personally relocate every flower in a marathon 2 hour session, we’re on! I am patient and dutiful in making sure she’s having the experience she wants. I protect her from the mobs (monsters) and make sure she’s healthy while we build giant pink wool towers.
During the good-person training (playing games), I am doing so many things at once it’s hard to justify doing anything else with her. (Mom says we should eat at the table…whatever, I found Pop-Tarts!)
I am spending focused, social time, communicating and working together with my daughter. I am practicing and displaying patience in a format with feedback like no other. We regularly say to each other, “I’m being patient now while you fix that bridge” or “…while you get those mobs”, reinforcing that you need to consider the people around you. She’s learning patience and how to apply herself to goals just by the progression mechanics.
And I know this because it happened to me with my family too. One day, she’ll be better than me and see how frequently I was patient with her. The grand reveal of a lifelong lesson will be when a young woman, with a lifetime of learning consideration of others, finally sees her doddering old dad through the lens of patience he once held for her.
“The student will become the master…” (Star Wars Reference FTW!)
Plenty of other stuff needs to come together for this approach to work, but when it comes to cultivating the core tenets of being a good person and making the world a better place, playing video games together with your kids is as good a place to start as any.
Play video games, save the world.