One Sunflower


on January 17, 2012

“I need more numchuks,” Leopoldo told me.  “What do you mean?” I asked, and he proceeded to tell me about the Wii game he is currently playing and how”numchuks” will help him win the game.  (My husband tells me the real word is: “nunchaku.”)

Why am I sharing this conversation?  Because it is what led me to my last entry on my other blog about pride and my present conundrum.

I wish my students didn’t play as many video games as they do.  I wish they were outside, using their bikes to jump puddles, crashing remote control cars into trees, creating dams with sticks and stones in the ditches in their back yards.  I wish they were playing soccer or basketball at Boys and Girls Clubs, following  older siblings into Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, or dreaming of when they will be old enough to play musical instruments or be in the school play.  These are the kinds of experiences I had as a child that challenged me and developed the sense of pride and self regard I believe is crucial for children.

I have a son who plays video games.  I hear him talk about the various levels he has achieved and I know he is proud when he gets to the end of a game – or when he plays with friends and is able to compete successfully.

So I tuned in again to what Leopoldo was telling me and I talk to him about the feelings he has when he plays the game, focusing on the pride part  and the awareness of having steps to go through, and the fact that there is ultimately a goal.

Of course I sneak in analogies about his favorite game of basketball and the skills he’s learning about writing.
After all, deep inside I’m still a teacher born in the middle of the ’50’s.

6 responses to “numchuks

  1. gigi2pnw says:

    Good awareness. It is very hard not to want children to have the same wonderful experiences we had as children. Pride in achievements comes in different wrappers these days.

  2. Tam says:

    I, too, was a child in the 50’s–always making something out of nothing. I wonder how all these games will play out in their lives.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    My older grandchild who is now ten, & playing the WII & video games has had so many experiences earlier in nature, playing in water & sand, making things, etc. I think the culture is such a shaper, & am sorry for it. I agree with you that it’s not happening, except we do have a group of skateboarders in our cul de sac continually practicing, well past dark if they can. Maybe as they all get older, they’ll rediscover those other things?

  4. Betsy says:

    I am always amazed at how a little boredom seems to revive the genius and creativity in children. Boredom is awfully hard to come by these days with screens everywhere! Hard to imagine a childhood short on mud, sticks and tree climbing!

  5. Ruth Ferris says:

    I rarely hear outside activities as being the fun choice of my students.

  6. Donna Smith says:

    When we used to make lists of our favorite things, games was one of the items for the first graders to fill in. I’m thinking checkers, baseball, Old Maid, etc., but what I get is a series of unintelligible words that are from a variety of video games…none of which I can spell from first grade pronounciations. I finally had to tell them, “but not video games”. Then they did have a few. But the list is short on variety. Game boards used to be how kids learned counting on…

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