Pokemon took the world by storm in the late 90’s with kids everywhere getting sucked into the vortex. I remember well the debate in Christian circles of whether or not we should allow our kids to participate. It was a time when mainstream churches tended to be black and white. It was either good or evil. Those furry creatures could quickly corrupt our kids and pull them into those evil video games (or so we thought).
But the world isn’t so black and white any more. And I will admit that I was one of those dreaded moms in Christian circles, especially Christian homeschool groups, who allowed my children to play Pokemon. It took me a while to actually give in to my boys, but after having my seven year old sit down and explain the logic in the card game, we caved. Besides, those furry creatures were kinda cute.
My boys have fond memories of sitting upstairs in the attic over our garage that we made into their “club house”. Friends would squirrel away with our kids for Pokemon battles that took place on our makeshift card table with the kerosene heater blazing in winter and the coolness of the fan in summer–that is until our youngest chased the cat and accidentally stepped on the ceiling sending the drywall onto the top of the raised garage door (but that’s a whole different story). 🙂
Who knew that almost two decades later society would once again have an outbreak of the Pokemon craze? Now on our smartphones no less, with 24/7 opportunities because we “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. While we have laws in place against texting a driving, now we’re having car crashes over Pokemon Go and people are litterally falling off cliffs. Cemetery, museum, and property owners are crying out urging people to stop the madness and show some respect.
I’ll admit, one of my twenty-somethings, who excited about the new game, just came back from a cemetery a few hours ago. What he witnessed was unbelievably sad. “Mom, there were well over 100 cars in the place driving around the circles. Parents were pulling off into the grass and in the chaos driving over graves. It took security to usher traffic out of the way when a funeral procession pulled in. Even the groundskeepers were hacked off at the litter they were finding on what is typically pristine grounds. I saw kids screaming in delight over the lure they acquired while loved ones were their to mourn their deceased loved ones.”
How do we as a society, especially as parents, teach our kids responsibility and respect when surrounded by adults that seem to have neither?
And how do we instill those values in the midst of a world that is glued to their phone like a zombie apocalypse?
It’s easy for our teens and tweens to get wrapped up in the popularity of the game where it becomes all they want to do. How do we use it to teach values that we want to instill without becoming “one of those parents” always yelling to get their attention?
- Get excited with your kids. Interact and have your kids teach you the strategy. Take walks together; go explore new neighborhoods. Become part of their world. You have a unique opportunity here to become engaged. It’s part of your kids’ culture.
- Talk about the problem. Fun needs to have limits and talking about what is happening in the news with Pokemon helps our kids see the potential dangers of a good thing. Talk about the car accident, the cliff incident, and respect.
- Talk about Pokemon in light of your faith. Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Or maybe Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Perhaps you can use these to help your kids put perspective on the amount of time they should be spending focused on the game.
- Let the kids help you set boundaries for their game. Let them know that even though it’s a great game, it can’t be all they do. Use the game of Pokemon to teach life balance.
- Teach your kids to handle disappointment. When the servers to down help your kids recognize their disappointment. Talk about it. Help them understand what they are feeling and move on emotionally.
As Christian parents we need to help our kids navigate the culture in a way that helps guide them away from the pitfalls–not necessarily exclude them from the game. It’s easy for any of us to get lured into the excitement of the electronic gaming world.
But we do need to live in the world.
It’s the how we navigate it that will make an eternal difference.
“Let go…and let God”,
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