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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Growing a Gamer

There are a lot of things in my life I blame on my parents.  Like the fact I didn’t experience the joy of sushi or clam chowder until college.  Or the fact that “scary” clowns don’t scare me but “happy” clowns are clearly from the devil. One thing in particular I blame on my daddy.  And yes, I still call my father daddy and if you have a problem with that you must not be a daddy to a daughter.

I am 95% a daddy’s girl.  I had to do what daddy was doing.  I had to know where daddy was going.  I had to be the center of attention to make daddy happy.  I tried to be the “son he never had” and do all the things with him he wanted to do.  One of those things was video games.

One of my earliest memories of gaming with my daddy was with our NES and a shiny gold game cartridge.  If you don’t know what NES is my heart is heavy knowing I am older then I think I am.  If you know what NES is but do not know what the shiny gold game is my heart is heavy knowing you did not fully enjoy life.

It’s Zelda in its truest form.  My dad would play for hours with me by his side “helping”.  I would document things I thought were important to know and give him “hints” on where he should go next.  He did a great job, looking back, on letting me feel like I was actually helping.  I still remember “North, West, South, West”

These early beginnings grew into something more until I was buying my very own consol and PC games.  I became a “gamer”.  I use that loosely since there are still only very specific types of games I enjoy, but I still enjoy them.  I can sit with friends (usually all dudes with an occasional Jen or Julie in the mix) and play and interact and just have a good ol’ time. 

So I blame my daddy for the fact that I will gladly take 2 hours with a controller or mouse in hand killing a bad guy over 2 hours of crafting or shopping any day.

It’s been interesting to balance my free time in a way my kids get their needed time and still allowing me to keep my sanity.  So the logical thing to do is raise gamers right?  We spend time with our kids playing board games.  We spend time with our kids playing Wii games and working up a sweat on occasion, and playing computer games (fun ones along with reading/writing/typing etc).

Some (a lot of) people frown upon “screen” time and how it’s bad for kids, but I have a different story to tell.  My kids can sweat from 30 minutes playing Wii Tennis as easily as running outside for 30 minutes and avoid the nasty neighborhood kids that intentionally hurt them (physically and emotionally).  My kids can learn as much about reading/typing/writing playing a game on the computer for 30 minutes as they would with Justin sitting with them for 30 minutes and avoid the frustration or distraction of the other kids interrupting constantly.

I’m not saying plop your kid in front of a tv for several hours, but I am saying that “screen” time does not have to be bad time.  Use it as a tool and not a babysitter.

Grow your own Gamer.

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