I was an emotional kid. It didn’t take much to set me off. I was either sharing my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with you or wanting to fight you during recess. I was a 3rd grader who cried way too much and couldn’t control his temper, but excelled in the classroom. My parents worried about who I really was. Was I the funny boy who loved to write stories and make others laugh or the boy whose teachers said used the “F” word in every sentence? So, my parents decided I need hobbies. Activities to keep me occupied and help focus my emotions.
Nothing worked. Enrolling me in karate classes was a terrible idea. I cried whenever the instructor raised his voice at me and refused to do any of the drills. And swimming lessons gave me panic attacks because I had no way to breathe under water. A tear-filled car ride home from another failed hobby trial left my parents clueless. We had to go shopping so I walked in with red eyes and strolled along the aisles. My eyes fixated on a black box. I read it with curiosity…Nintendo Entertainment System. I flipped the box over and drooled over the cool pictures of video games that were waiting for me to play. I needed this in my room. This was a hobby, right? Something that could help me focus my emotions? This would keep me out of trouble, right? It was a tough sell, but my parents were willing to try anything. But, here is the crazy thing…it worked. My aggression disappeared and my imagination grew. Twenty-eight years later, video games still plays an important role in my life. It has helped me escape through tough times in my life.
The subject of video games is hit or miss with parents. And I did not know how to approach this issue with my daughter. I had plenty of time to figure this out. Maybe, my daughter would stick to Barbie and My Little Pony…maybe, video games will never spark her curiosity? Nope, my little one started to watch me play video games. She would look over my shoulder as I spent time with my first love. But, she never asked to play. I knew the day would come when she had to try them for herself. Video games can be violent so I had to figure out how to break her in when the time came. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was going to introduce her to stealing cars and crime in the wonderful world of Grand Theft Auto. It was going to take a select group of heroes to teach her about life and keep her giggling for years to come. Here are the special friends I chose to introduce her to:
This mild-mannered plumber with a mustache from the Super Mario franchise lived a simple life….until the princess was kidnapped. And that’s what makes him perfect for my little one. He can teach her that you can do anything you want to no matter what “size” you are. He’s hilarious plus my daughter still loves princesses, so she imagines she is trying to rescue a good friend.
This cute pink ball of fluff is amazing. He can copy the powers of his foes by using his mouth as a vacuum to “inhale” them. He teaches my daughter to think “outside the box” for solutions to problems. Kirby needs to adapt to his world in order to save the day…and so will my little one.
This character is from the Pokemon video game series. He spends his life catching and training little creatures called Pokemon. Each Pokemon has its own strengths and weaknesses, just like we do. We might not be able to do everything, but together we can do something.
She loves these characters. And every time I hear her scream for joy as she plays these games, I can’t help but smile. My daughter plays video games, and I couldn’t be more proud.