I am not what you call a tech-momma – but I do live in a tech rich home due to the influence and interests of my husband. I never had a computer until I was in University, I didn’t play video games while I was growing up. My childhood home was book rich and anti-television. My generation was one step before the big boom in technology and computers, I remember rotary dial phones, having to use a nickel to use the payphone, and what it sounds like to use a manual typewriter.
I am what is called a “technology immigrant” while my children are fully immersed members of this new culture.
So how and where do the twain meet … well we definitely enjoy books and music and silliness and even dancing around together but there are times when I hear them talking about things I don’t have a clue about. I understand that this will happen, I don’t need to know everything they know, or like everything they like, or be involved in everything they do.
But there are times when they really love something, love like they “can’t stop talking about it” love it – and with these “loves” comes a lingo, and humour, and sense of community which I feel I am missing out on it. Playing Minecraft is one of these universal loves in my home. My kids all play, my husband plays … he has even set up a server for our kids, their cousins, and their friends to all play on together. It is a big deal around here. And as much as I listened to them, I couldn’t wrap my head around why this particular game was so interesting to all of them.
So I decided to try it out.
What I have learned playing Minecraft:
- I am a chicken. True fact. Virtual, make believe, baddies – scare me. I have a very over developed sense of self-preservation which I have learned extends to my virtual self.
- My kids are bold, brave, and wildly creative people who leap to defend each other and help each other out. This mother could not be more proud of her Minecraft warriors.
- Their bravery is encouraging – it emboldens me to face my fears and try new things.
- I like being their neighbour.
- Building whatever you want, out of materials you had to gather yourself, while fighting off baddies, and remembering to feed yourself is pretty rewarding. I take pride in my “work” – I admire what others are doing. I “get” the creative end, the planning, and thinking that goes on in this game. Yes, it is like Lego but you live amongst your creations. Who, as a kid, didn’t want to walk into the front door of their Lego home and sit on their Lego chair? … And then to have the capacity to make actual functioning items … it is brilliant.
- My kids teach me things and encourage me to do more. They are patient teachers who revel in their knowledge and share it generously.
- I like being the student – it is like turning a full circle in our home learning journey – opening up opportunities and it puts us on a more equal “playing” field.
- My brain dislikes disruptive visual information – it likes to believe I have been poisoned and thinks I am having hallucinations which results in some pretty terrible nausea. But once I learned to change my screen views – step one in the learning curve, I was able to manage playing for short periods of time and then eventually longer periods of time (…perhaps even really long periods of time)
- I get how “addictive” it can become – there is a great deal of investment of both time and thought, it can be hard to stop working toward a goal or investigating a new place. We all need to learn to manage our “screen” time.
- My husband thinks it is “hot” that I play – ah, bonus 🙂
I know there are lots of kids playing Minecraft and a lot of parents who don’t know what Minecraft is all about. I don’t think everyone should play it – I would encourage all parents (yes, even you Mum) to try it out, or watch your kids while they play, and ask them questions. It is more than you think it is.
But mostly, I would encourage parents to learn more about whatever it is that their children “love” – join their world, try out something they like, or have them teach you something you don’t know how to do. It is pretty great to be part of their “community” for a change.