- All my kids do is play on screens.
- I am so tired of Pokemon cards, I would like to get rid of them all.
Just two days ago, my eyes were opened to something I was missing. Something that I wish I had seen before. I am just glad I caught it now.
I grew up in the 80's/90's. I had a sticker album I would drag to school and trade my friends. Later I would collect garbage pail kid cards to trade with friends. Boys on the bus would have football or baseball cards to trade and look at. It hit me this week that my boys are trading Pokemon cards with friends in much the same way. They share excitement and joy with each other and their friends when they open a pack and get a truly awesome card. They have learned to barter or trade friends for cards. It really is a lot like what we did as kids. They interact with each other and not with screens when they are looking at the collections together. And then Pokemon goes one step further and puts a game behind it. Something to DO with these cards they collect.
Wow! I almost missed it. When my boys wanted to look at Walmart in the Pokemon aisle I would tap my foot and ask them repeatedly if they were done. Now, I am not saying spending hours in the aisle is a good use of time but I had a very poor attitude. They wanted to do chores and save money go get another pack and my reply was "no, you don't need more cards". While this statement is true, it was far from encouraging them to keep up a hobby that did not involve screens. It was also not encouraging them to do work for the things they want in life. What was I thinking?? I am always wanting them to learn that if you want something you have to work and save for it!
When they opened packs and wanted to share in excitement what they found in their mystery pack, I would look at them and listen but my mind was elsewhere. After all, these were just Pokemon cards. But this week a switch was flipped in my brain. I remembered how excited I got when I opened a new pack of stickers to add to my book. I was not LISTENING to my boys and sharing in their excitement. I was nodding and saying "wow" or "ummm" but I was not sharing in their joy.
It is sort of like a dad with no interest in a sport who learns all the rules of that sport to connect with his child. He forms an interest with the sport to form a bond with his child, to show love for his child, and to show his child that life is not all about our personal interests but also the interests of those we love. I was not giving them 5 minutes attention to actually be PRESENT and listen about why each card they showed me was "cool".
So, this week my oldest son asked me to "play" Pokemon with him. He made a version of the game that I could play. (I can't wrap my head around all the official rules yet!) Think about that -- He created a game so his old mom could join him with his interest. My first thought was "No, please, not Pokemon cards!!" But then what came out of my mouth was "Sure, I'll give it a try." I wish I could have captured the smile that was on his face. I think beams of light were shooting from his eyes. He didn't fall over in shock, but he was glowing and grinning from ear to ear. I was given very brief instructions on how to select my cards (our game only uses 6 since Mom is a noob) and sent to look through my choices. Of course, "good" cards were out of the options. But I selected my cards and battled my son and lost. Two more games were play and I creamed him on the last battle.
I am so disappointed in myself. We are a board game family and I was not willing to look into my sons' hobby and learn anything at all about them. This week, I decided that I would much rather them play with these cards, collect these cards, and share their excitement about these cards than play video games or watch TV. It almost feels like my childhood watching them do this. While, I don't have to be an expert player or learn every Pokemon there is, I can show an interest and learn the basics.
This morning my boys gave me some of their duplicate or "not so good" cards so I could have my own deck to use when playing them. They were so excited to share with me. I secretly bought some more cards for myself so that I have some I can trade them and play with. Right now they are doing their chores and getting ready to get school done so they can battle me when they are finished with school. It is pretty exciting to see that they are not just stuck on screen time. I am I am a super cool mom since I have my own deck! I just wish that Pokemon cards come with a stick of gum! Oh and please do not tell my boys that they are doing mental math while they are playing and calculating damage and health rapidly during battle.