Monday, December 15, 2008

Gaming With Your Kids

A while back I read an enlightening article about gaming with your kids in, I believe, Canadian Living Magazine. Wish I could remember the author of the article so I could give him proper credit. Anyway, the author told of an experiment he tried, where instead of cursing the presence of video games in his kids' lives, he would embrace them, he would join them. 

At first he thought he was only checking out the games his kids wanted to play, but soon he found they could be fun. When his children discovered he was playing some of the games they were interested in, they were so excited. He began spending time with his boys playing video games, and the fun they shared became an addiction they could all get behind. 

I talked with David about this and whether he would consider playing games with the boys. My guys like medieval-style games best of all, and I wanted to find that type of game that was online, allowing multiple players to play together.

We have finally found a great, fun, safe game that we can all play, called Wizard 101

The boys had been playing it for about a week before David and I decided to join them. It was at the end of a school day, when I asked the boys for help in setting up my character. They flew out of their seats and ran to look over my shoulder at the computer. They helped pick my wizards' face, her clothes, her name. they were so excited, it blew my mind.

They couldn't wait to get on their own computers and start playing with me. The fellow who wrote the article mentioned how it was interesting to take the parent-turned-student role with your kids, and boy was it ever! They felt so proud to show my how to do things in this new world ... and were proud of me when I accomplished my first tasks. 

Now David is out of town and last night he texted me and asked if we wanted to play with him. We all got on Wizard 101 and played a few games together. What a wonderful feeling it was, to have Dad on the other side of the country, but yet we felt like we were together.  

I highly recommend that you put aside your video-game phobias and consider jumping into this wild, colorful world with your kids. Let them show you around, show you what they love, what they think is don't' like, and what they can do in their virtual world. 

It will give you amazing perspective into the world your children live in, and into their very hearts and minds. You might also discover, as we did, that it provides a vehicle to bring your family closer together, despite the miles, and even the years, that may separate you.