Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thoughts on color . . .

When you look at this picture, what do you think?

 Perhaps, “What beautiful fall colors!”  Or, “Look at the variety of colors in nature.”  Maybe, “Isn’t it amazing how all those different trees can produce so many different colors living together in the same forest?” 

Now, when you look at this picture, what do you think?

Perhaps, “What a wonderful representation of citizenship!”  Or, “Look at all those beautiful colors!”  Maybe, “Isn’t it amazing how all those different people can live together on the same planet?”

Why can we admire the beauty and differences in the colors of trees but not in people?  We appreciate the variations in each tree.  Even a tree where the leaves all turn red, they are different shades of red all produced by the same tree.  In people, we must admire the variation in each.  How skin, eye, and hair color can be so varied throughout the same family.  How different color combinations can mix together to create something entirely new and beautiful.

Do you remember elementary school when you learned about primary and secondary colors? Red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors and it is mixtures of these colors that make all other colors. And what about black and white? The color white is “due to the reflection of most wavelengths of visible light”.  While black is “Of the very darkest color owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light”.  Yet we must mix the two together in different proportions to make gray. We must add white and black to purple, already a combination of red and blue, to make all the beautiful shades of lilac, violet, mauve, plum and more.

Ignoring color and all its variations is not an option! We must embrace all the colors, of flowers, trees, leaves, paint but most importantly people! All people, in all different colors, contribute to the beauty of this vast world in which we live. We must teach our children, not to be color blind, but to appreciate and understand all the unique colors on the spectrum.

Yellow is my least favorite color, yet yellow and blue combine to make green – my favorite color. So when we teach children about colors they need to know that even if they dislike yellow, it plays an important role in their favorite color of green and so they must appreciate yellows contribution. You don’t have to love yellow, you just have to learn to value its role in the color spectrum.

The same is true of people. You don’t have to love everyone (not everyone is loveable), but you do have to accept their contribution to the world. My response to #blacklivesmatter, is yes, they do, but really #ALLLIVESMATTER - black, white, red, pink, brown, tan, albino and so on.

So take a lesson from this rainbow Yoshi family who live together in peace and harmony under my very roof and are all equally loved.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Defining Addiction

When I started this blog, I gave it the subtitle “The rewards and pitfalls of raising a child who is addicted to video games.”  Since then, a couple of people have sent me messages asking how to “cure” their child’s addiction.  It occurs to me that maybe addiction or even obsession isn’t quite the right term. We do not seek to “cure” the child who focuses on a single sport.  The kid whose wall is covered in team banners, attends sports camps, and dreams of someday playing professionally.  We do not seek to cure the child who focuses on academics.  The kid who spends their time conducting experiments, or building, or studying in their room, head buried in a book.  These kids may join academic teams, participate in science fairs, spelling bees, etc.

We cheer for those kids, admire their dedication and commitment.  So why is it any different for a gamer?  I have come to learn that gaming is a culture, a way of life.  Gaming takes real skill and dedication to practice the craft.

I am reminded of this every time I try to play anything more advanced than Mario Party.  I recently tried to play the much hyped game “Splatoon” with my son and it was just embarrassing!  I couldn’t figure out the controls or how to aim and kept pushing the wrong buttons.  Where J immediately and innately controls his character, moves around the playing field, and generally kicked my ass.

So if you are the parent of a gamer, take a moment to consider what it really means to your kid and how you want to deal with their “addiction”.  Think about what is important to you.  What do you “obsess” over?  Is there something that you are fanatical about?  The real truth is that we all have something . . . it’s just that some addictions are more socially acceptable and easier to blend in with the world at large.

So what to do with your avid child gamer?  My answer is not a damn thing!  Accept your child for who he/she is; encourage diverse interests and activities with the knowledge that in the end, they will want nothing more than to get home and check their Minecraft build.  Appreciate your child’s talent and commitment to the art of game play.

And so I will change the subtitle description of this blog to, "The rewards and pitfalls of parenting an avid gamer."