Saturday, May 12, 2012

Learning Their Way, Not Mine

Marina and I click. We always did. If something interested me, nine times out of ten it would be interesting to her. I was lucky with her. I can still get excited about something--a bird in the yard, a news article, a book--and she is right there with me, brimming with enthusiasm.

Chase and Sierra are not as fascinated by my interests. They will humor me on some things, and they definitely have my artistic slant, but their own passions lie in different realms. Right now, it's the realm of Minecraft and other online games. I'm very impatient when it comes to computer games. I haven't played any games that require me to use more than the computer mouse to control it. And if the day is sunny and mild, I would much rather head outside and do some gardening and bird watching than stare at my computer screen. We are different, my youngest two and I.  Learning does not always happen the way I want it to.

But that is OK. Because even though they are spending more time with the computer than I would like, I can see the learning happen. My son learned to use Skype before anyone in our family so he could connect with friends, both real-life and friends he met from playing multi-player games like Spore and League of Legends. Sierra learned how to research online to improve her skills in Minecraft. I've seen her give advice to her big brother on more than one occasion when he couldn't figure out how to make something. They both use game mods, which gives them a taste of programming. They have both spent time problem solving when their modifications don't work, and they are currently pestering their dad to help them set up a server so they can play privately with their friends.

Need I say, their dad is where they developed their love for computers and games?

And there's the point. They have two parents. As much as I would love them to show more interest in the activities I love, I'm glad they have a way to bond with their dad. I admit, I'm not always very tolerant of the games. I will remind them to do other things,to spend time outside, and sometimes I just want a break from the noise of their games. There is a part of me--I'm pretty sure it's the teacher part--that is jealous of their love of technology. I have nothing to offer them in that quarter, aside from reminders about internet safety. But I recognize it is their passion, and I try not to create too many obstacles as they learn how to use the computer and the games. The skills they are developing might serve them well someday.

And I will always have someone to go to when I can't get my computer to work.  


Kez said...

My husband asked our son yesterday for advice on video capturing software for one of our clients - sometimes you just have to accept that their knowledge in some areas exceeds yours no matter what their age!!

As a bookworm, I'd be estatic if Billy chose to spend all day reading a book. I've really had to retrain my mind to think that that is *my* values - and spending his time on the computer playing games is just as important and valuable to him as reading a book would be to me. Who knows where it will take him - but I'm fairly certain even at this stage, that his future will lie in IT / computer gaming somewhere.

Inner Elder said...

Thank you for addressing this issue. I was thinking that my generation was obsolete but I like the way you reframed the concerns some of us have with computer fascination. I see the value of bonding and connecting - it's a new world and that includes the way we communicate. And I'm glad they are learning research skills. BTW, what a blessing to have a daughter that is also a friend - I know how that feels! Love, your pal MOm

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