Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Mothers Ode to her Gaming Son

A Mothers Ode to Her Gaming Son

I have received a rather controversial 'message' as I opened my consciousness around gaming.

 Just going to share and see where it goes – feels like a rant coming on.

Do with it what you will...

Gaming is not responsible for deaths. Schools are attacked by individuals with a problem about school, or schooling.

A school, to me is generally an old world way to get the message across - in a new world.

I used to say to my children... ‘if school teachers had a cardboard box around their heads, you would learn more’. They could repeat, word for word, things they heard on the TV once.
Media/TV is a tool, an information centre.
Our children in New Zealand learned valuable things from Barney (I love you, you love me) and Sesame St (How to COUNT AH-AH-AHHH!) and Kindness from Po and… Tinky Winky?

We learned how to drop pianos on roadrunners (Warner Bros) how to wake people from a sleep with true love’s kiss (Disney) and how to pick on people, blow things up and that ‘HAAAAIIYA’ was the sound of a karate chop, from the Muppets.

One of the reasons why children brought up in nice homes go off to school and exhibit their pain by taking other children out - is that schools have been their centre of pain. 

Schools are places where children are judged, bullied, measured and tested.

If the children are lucky, they meet that one teacher that celebrates them, not just teaches them, but leads them and inspires them. This is a true gem in schooling.

Many of our teachers nowadays, are marking papers and marking time - as our out of control children who don't speak their language are losing touch with them -because they go too slowly. Their mental reflexes are faster, their decisionmaking is faster. Their perception is heightened to allow for multitasking.

Our children aren’t bad, they are bored.

Why? Because we don’t give them enough ‘credits’.

It’s no wonder they are depressed.

The real world doesn’t hold enough magic – they can see that their parents feel like drones, speak like they are drones, and just may be drones – working in a broken model.
What's attractive about living out your life being that miserable? Why join that 'real' world?
Does it sound that attractive to you when you hear yourself? When you look in the mirror?
If you were honest, isn't it a little like being trapped in someones bad movie?

Aren't you just a little over it too? 

Gaming isn’t evil – it’s evolution. The real darkness in humanity is and always has been - man’s inhumanity to man. You serve your part here and I've discovered something.
It's not so great for a child's self esteem, when you consider your child a 'leper' because he or she is gaming.

YOU are infusing them with the energy of ‘you are not good enough’ or ‘you have bad habits’ or ‘you don’t communicate anymore’. In reality they are communicating – with people on the other side of the world – with people that share common bonds and with people that are real people. They are just not communicating with you.

Because you are judging them.

The people they are communicating with - like your children and like you – want and need the same things. They, like your children and like you – are asking questions, challenging, growing, experiencing and doing all the other things.
Most of them aren’t bad people either. Like you.

The child who plays video games is not escaping the world, but he may be doing his best to escape your judgement.
And the idea of a large percentage of crime (violent or otherwise) due to video gaming is flawed.
People who go without - don’t all steal things, just like people who are poor aren’t all miserable. People steal what is trending at the time.
Once it was TV’s. Once it was cars. Once – it was land. Aren't some of us still trying to do that?

The crime rate doesn’t go up because people are influenced by gaming, it goes up because people are broken. They're broken when their team loses and when bad things happen to them. Things they can't see a way out of.

There have always been new things that were viewed as bad, or misunderstood by older generations. Change was and is, often considered dangerous.

‘Rock and roll’ was considered disgustingly rude as it was the African American terminology for the act of intercourse. Elvis showed up - gyrating his pelvis, to the horror of 'decent' parents all over the world. He was not only gorgeous, he was necessary, and you would think the lessons he taught – drugs are bad, excess isn’t good for you either, and celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – would have fallen on less deaf ears.   

So a parents new pet hate, or should I say dislike? of gaming might be a little off centre.

Maybe it’s just something a lot of us don’t understand.

It is developing now for brain training – for city building – for cognitive therapy, to aid in recovery from depression or motor inhibiting illness and illnesses such as alzheimers.
My son Caleb has been gaming for a while. I’ve been judging him for it.
Yes it takes up a lot of time. And yes he has been shut away sometimes doing it. Because he felt really bad about enjoying it.

He has been gaming, and sort of, well, ‘killing people’. 

Despite that fact, that he is a really great boy, clever, articulate and interested in so many things, including countries all ever the world,  he is so kind and a good entertainer too.
He 'does' voices and he is wickedly funny. I probably haven’t realised until right now actually, his interest in world events has been piqued, his general geographical knowledge expanded, and most certainly his reflexes have been aided by the games he has played.
He is a very quick thinker, and also a bit of a cynic.

So – here is my statement:

If your child is gaming – he or she is not a leper.

Gaming is the modern kid’s interactive replacement for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

They KNOW it’s not real. They can watch real life horror any day of the week on The News at 6pm.
Gaming didn't start WW1, WW2 and it won't start WW3.

Kids have a new social network as new generations always do.

Hey - we have facebook. What is that if it’s not a massive social interactive game?

Same thing really isn’t it?

Maybe you are not ‘killing’ people, but some of you are sharing things from time to time that make other people wince. There are activists happily sharing things I can’t look at. Someone has to. It’s not my thing, but it’s theirs. Doesn’t mean I don’t share in supporting their cause – I just don’t look.
I’ve been getting endless FB invitations to games I don’t play and I've been very surprised how many people get up at 4am to water their sweetcorn.

I am not a gamer. My form of entertainment is writing. To do it – I often shut myself away. Often times I’m much more isolated more than a gamer. I think and write about all sorts of things, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to run someone through at the post office with a pen and I certainly won’t club them to death with my laptop.

The President of the NRA (National Rifle Association) in America mentioned every classroom now needs an armed guard because they are dangerous places. I’m sure to many people it feels like that, but perhaps some classrooms always were dangerous places for children’s gentle spirits and perhaps it’s time to take a close look at how our children are falling through cracks and I know it's time for us to do something about it.

I am not saying bad parenting is the issue, I’m not saying bad teachers are the issue, I’m not saying gaming or guns are the issue either. I'm just offering an idea. Keep up with your child as best you can and really be mindful that our children are sponges.
Here is an example...

I met a wee girl once at a day care facility who helped with a tidy up at the end of the day.
She had a wee broom and a wee pile of dust.

As she finished, the day care ladies nudged me. I watched her pick up the edge of the carpet and with a SWOOSH, she swept her pile of gatherings under it, dropped the mat, dropped the broom, clasped her hands together and smiled expectantly in a saintly helper-ish fashion. 

“Thank you SO much for helping us”, said the day care ladies… ‘is that the way Mummy does it?”

A firm nod, nod, nod and the smile grew bigger as the ponytail bobbed up and down.
Beaming smiles all round from the day care ladies, and a general muffled hilarity at Mummy – whoever she was – being so delightfully ‘busted’.

She ran off to play.

We cracked up laughing after the appropriate amount of distance between us deemed it safe.

A good reminder that even from a very early age, YOU and your ideas are being viewed, infused into and interpreted by, not only your children, but all the children around you - whether you are a teacher, parent, taxi driver, petrol pump attendant.

The village is raising your child and children strip everything back to bare basics.
They see into the heart and into the truth of you nowadays, more than ever before.

If you call people fat, chances are you’ve just given the green light to a bullying inspired comment.
If you call people ugly, useless or stupid, you are doing it too.
If you don't listen to them - they won't listen to you. You fix it. You're the big one.
Don’t demand their respect, then act like an intolerant ass. Earn it.

If a child does their best in an exam or is dreamy in class and they are judged as not good enough, by a figure they consider to be an authority, they will believe it and it will affect the way they present themselves sooner or later.

If they need me later for therapy I will charge them more than $90 per hour.

Sort them out now. Tell them they are amazing, find a way to speak their language. Reach them.
Because they are amazing. And they live in a different world to the world you do. When they grow up, their options are different. The world is anything but static.

You might imagine they are dreamers, like John Lennon. A dreamer genius, if I was his mother, I would have been terribly proud of him.
He is right – he is not the only one. Dreamers bring us innovation, and the technology you are using now. Your technology is already out of date, because another dreamer has eclipsed it doing something that other people imagine is impossible.

There are people in the world who call themselves peaceful, justifying an army from one country entering, maiming and killing people in another. That’s ok? How?
What if the 6pm news was the trigger?

Our opinion of our children is crucial in their world.
Their self worth is at stake here. Let it be ok that they have a new way.

We all did. Punk rock, bad hair and big shoulder pads made the statement when I was 17.  

My gaming son and I had a big chat before both the boys went to Australia for Christmas.

The penny had finally dropped for me, I worked out who he was and realised that if I didn’t show up and be honourable about his choices and his passions, he was going to feel bad about himself. Like part of him wasn’t good enough, or that he had to hide a part away.

So we set up a blog. It’s called NZRadioGamer.

He told me he would start blogging after he came home from his holiday and he did. He has posted a few posts, and a few days later he tells me that the monthly stats show that he has had 100 hits.

Actually, I told him – they are not a monthly reflection yet.

He had been active since the 10th of January – the target date he set for himself.

100 hits in 8 days tells me he has an audience. It took me longer than that.  

I am proud of his posts. He entertained me and he has balanced opinions and a plan to explain all facets of gaming to adults and kids, with good recommendations, reviews, brain training and all sorts of other wonderful things. Featuring Playstation vs. XBox and a raft of games.

He'll back it up with voice-overs and more. And if it becomes his career by the time he leaves school, then I will feel humbled and honoured that I have played a part in giving him his wings.

So. I am not condoning violence, and you will see if you take a look at Caleb’s blog, that neither is he. What I am saying is there is currently a broken model, and maybe there is a bias that shouldn’t exist.

Sick people are sick, no matter what the impetus is for their expression of the pain.
When we heal the pain, hear the person, meet the need - we heal the problem. 
Despite the fact that I aim my life at peace, I know there will always be some way that people will pull negativity out and give it a good trot.

Just don’t let it be you if you can help it.

If this helps you understand your gaming child better, (and I know it will help some of you) then actually, it’s my child’s patient grace with me that brought it through. And I am grateful for that while I’m still learning.

Don’t you be the one to shut down the lines of communication or to judge or persecute…
You might have thought Picasso was an irreverent, artistically mindless ass.
But I bet you would love to own a piece of his original artwork now.

Remember. You are the grown up.

You know everything.


Didn’t think so.

In love, miracles, innovation and everything else wonderful, magical and worth taking a love inspired look at.

Deb Wharfe

Auckland, NZ


No comments:

Post a Comment