I see them for the first time sitting together in a room. They are joking, sharing. There is laughter, and screaming, oh I might have seen a tiny shoulder shove, laughing again. In a room together they sit, sometimes in different rooms, still playing a game together.
One day I notice myself holding a gaming controller. The buttons and gadgets are being explained to me, it becomes apparent, just how slow my reflexes have become. I see the excitement and amazement in the eyes of my child, hold on, I think it is more like shock, yes I see shock in their eyes, as I hold the controller. Now they are laughing. Unlike with their siblings or friends, they are not laughing with me, they are laughing at me. I feel that competitiveness rise up within me, “laugh at me will you? No way buddy, I am going beat you at this game.” The challenge begins.
Like short sprint runners we line up on the runner blocks;
On your mark-the game is loading,
Get Set– holding the controller tight in my hands, adjusting myself in the chair.
Go– the game begins.
It is at that moment, the realization of not remembering how to make my character run faster or more possibly, the information was never effectively shared with me by my family competitor, sets in.
My voice elevates, there is laughter, then there is help, then there is more laughter, more help, then just laughter. I am the student, the youngest of the family has become the teacher, it is wonderful. Life learning, should never stop.
“I’m on fortnite Mom, be there in a minute.” Have you heard this sentence? I have, a thousand times, and that is not an exaggerated number.
The F Beginning
First let me explain that it is fortnite. When I first heard about it I thought it was;
1. Fort knights, which created a visual of medieval times. –Wrong
2. For knights– saving princesses and honouring castles- Wrong
3. Fort night – gallantry demonstrated in royal forts during the night – Wrong
4. A fortnight – which is a term used to describe a unit of time equal to 14 days, shortened from fourteen nights to fortnight – Wrong – Although it can be how long they will play the game if left to their own devices without restraint.
It’s fortnite. The general definition provided by those who play the game explain it this way, -It’s a battle royale, last-man standing wins the game. Just like monopoly and most other card and board games, there has to be a winner.
I have often wondered about my childhood without video games. What did I do? I watched TV, I read books, played sports and I did chores. Kids in this generation watch streaming shows, read books, play sports, do chores and play video games. They do all the same things I did, except they connect with more people virtually than I even had as friends growing up.
Internet games are the new playground. It’s a virtual playground, there is still bullying and friends defending other friends and people you don’t’ want to hang out with and yes there is the risk of stranger danger. While I understand how this can be uncomfortable for some of us, things change. A few years back I would never have used the term DLC. (Down Loadable Content) and to be honest, even now I do not use it, but I understand it. Which I believe is a key factor here. Working towards the concept of understanding and thus supporting the next generation in their growth mindset. We don’t need to engage in newer technology that makes us uncomfortable, but we need to understand it. How we do that is up to us. Reading or studying about it, asking family and friends and the fun way, getting a hold of a controller (if you can) and playing it.
Tonight I walk and think about what will come up in the next fortnight. Yes I mean the next two weeks and not the game. The best way to navigate the changes is to first understand that they are always coming. On your mark, get set, go ……….laugh and enjoy the opportunity of learning it together. After all that is our role as the elder generation, to instill the growth mindset in the future generations, exercise acceptance and demonstrate support so they too can plan for the next fortnight and fortnite……