"It's Not the Flippin Game......."
Brenna, Logan and I are all very intense and focused when we are involved in things we love doing. Recently, Brenna has been completely immersed in making pottery and reading and writing about pottery from the time she gets up till she goes to bed. She said today that she was even dreaming about pottery. Do you think that she gets any negative responses about the time and energy she spends on this?
After playing World of Warcraft until he reached Level 78, Logan recently moved on to a different video game. He is completely immersed in playing Half Life and is learning and enjoying it so much that he also has mentioned dreaming about it. He has spent the last few days coming out of his room only briefly to eat and shower. Do you think his focus gets the same positive reactions as his sister's pottery interest?
I love Kelly's take on this whole "obsession" idea and how it is so often viewed as a negative when it comes to video games. My thanks to Kelly for letting me share her words that express my viewpoint so well.
It's NOT the flippin' GAME!!!!!
I know people who have become engrossed in something else to the seeming exclusion of everything else. It's not WoW that is doing the damage.
Someone recently mentioned Dungeons and Dragons. That was THE downfall of the 70's. If you didn't limit your child's time with the game, it was certain destruction and ruin. Puh-LEEZE!
I played with three friends kind of regularly. One is a Classics (Latin & Greek) professor. One is a politician. One was a Rhodes scholar and is now a lawyer. I've had many incarnations. None of us crashed and burned playing D&D.
I know people who read obsessively. Who run obsessively. Who cycle obsessively. Who work out obsessively. Who fish obsessively. Who golf obsessively. Who show dogs obsessively. Who go to Star Trek conventions obsessively.
Who drum obsessively. Who garden obsessively. Who work with numbers obsessively. Who sail obsessively. Who collect flashlights obsessively. Who make wine obsessively. Who geo-cache or letterbox obsessively. Who play with dolls obsessively. Who knit obsessively. Who camp and hike obsessively. Who travel obsessively. Who watch Law & Order obsessively. Who perform magic obsessively. Who play bagpipes obsessively. Who sculpt/paint obsessively. Who dance obsessively. Who write obsessively. Who ride horses obsessively. Who make movies obsessively.
Some do these things for a living. Some are simply enjoying hobbies/passions. All are friends of mine.
Who gets to decide what's unhealthy and
what's necessary to achieve goals?
Last night, my family went to a magic show. Several amazing magicians. One also drummed. He combined magic and drumming in his act. He's a pretty big name: Ed Ellis, Fastest Hands in the World. Drummer AND Magician!
Anyway, last night, Cameron marveled at his drumming. He was amazing! Cam and I talked about his talent as we left the hotel. Cameron said that he must've drummed to the exclusion of everything else. He MUST have. 'Cause that's how you get to be the BEST. But he's not exclusively drumming. He's also a talented magician, an actor, and a speaker. But we know he spent COUNTLESS hours learning to BE that good.
He was probably told that he was obsessing too much about magic and music. I can almost guarantee it---it's just how society feels about "specializing.
I really enjoyed meeting him. He asked us to stop by his home on our way to Ohio at the end of this month. Have Cameron come spend an hour or two drumming with him. How can I possibly pass up such an opportunity?
Cameron will call him tomorrow to make sure our schedules jive. But I'll move heaven and earth to give him the opportunity to spend time with this obsessed talent.
Pick any ultra-talented individual. He wasn't just born that way. He WORKED at it. He was obsessed by it.
No Olympic athlete got to the Olympics just wishing for it. No CEO got
to that position by working just 9-5. No farmer can make a living by just hoping crops grow. No musician got to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by playing just two hours, three days a week. No handler wins Best in Show at Westminster by showing only one weekend a month. No one wins a Superbowl ring by playing flag football on Saturdays. No gamer will reach level 80 and get a job with Blizzard by playing only two hours/day and on weekends.
Goals require dedication. Lofty goals require obsession.
I feed my children's obsessions. Who knows where that will lead?
Imagine all the amazing stars we have lost to parents' fears.
Help them achieve lofty goals. Expose them to as much of the world as possible. The world would be a better place if everyone did what comes naturally and what makes them happy. Imagine a world where *everyone* LOVED what he did!
Really, this is the essence of unschooling from my perspective. Value, time and resources for our interests that we have balanced with exploration and understanding that at any time we might discover something new and amazing to add to our rich lives. I want my kids to love what they do now and I'm quite confident it will lead to always doing what they love.