Yes, you guessed it, this blog post is about me :). After last night, I have bestowed upon myself the Mother of the Year award. Pretty cheeky eh? Well, let me explain. Since I have always been a total geek, I encouraged my boys from a young age to learn about computers and become comfortable with them. From about the age of one they were both able to use a mouse to navigate through various educational computer games like Reader Rabbit. Between the computer games and the hundreds of books that we read together, they both entered school well prepared. As they grew up in a heavily electronic world, they naturally developed an interest in video games. Now, I know there is a great deal of negative opinion out there about video games, especially the violent war games, but we took the attitude that our kids could play pretty much anything they wanted and watch any movies that they wanted as long as we were around to give some input and discuss what they were watching or playing. That way there was still some control, and they were at home instead of at someone else’s house where there might not be any control at all.
And regardless of what some people say, you really can create learning experiences from video games. When my sons started playing Xbox Live with people all over the world, we found a map of the world and mounted it to a cork board on the wall. Then every time they met someone new in their games, they asked where they were from, and when the game was done we would all search the map together and add a push pin to that player’s location. The map quickly filled up with push pins all over the world. Now that was a geography lesson that my kids never groaned about :). I was constantly amazed by the history they learned from their war games too, which prompted many an interesting dinnertime conversation. Over the years, their love of video games grew, and as long as there were still outdoor sports in their lives and their grades were kept up in school, they were pretty much allowed free reign with their games.
Recently, my son Daniel jokingly asked if we could go to the midnight release for the latest game, Call of Duty Ghosts, and after giving him a bit of a hard time for fun, I said sure, why not! I had been to a midnight release before and had a lot of fun. After being away for a long weekend visiting my parents and having to go to work this morning, I knew that I would be really tired today, but I also knew it would mean a great deal to Daniel, so we headed to an electronics store 45 minutes south of here last night and stood in line for two hours in the freezing cold, keeping in touch with my older son, Bryan, by cellphone, as he stood in a similar lineup in Kitchener/Waterloo where he goes to college.
There weren’t actually that many people in line this year surprisingly, but those that were there were determined to have a good time while we waited. Four guys in particular had been in line since 7:30 pm and had come well prepared. They were all wearing heavy winter coats and were wrapped in blankets, and they had lawn chairs and a cooler set up at the front doors to the store. They even ordered pizza to be delivered to warm them up and did not hesitate to offer a slice to everyone else in line. They kept us smiling through the long, cold wait, so I asked them if I could take their picture, and they loved the idea. I also snapped a second photo of one of the guys gazing longingly in the store’s front door where the employees kept enticing us with glimpses of the games.
Midnight struck and we all rushed into the store to get first choice of the games and the free items they were handing out. Daniel was ecstatic because he got his game as well as two $10 Microsoft points cards, a free toque, and a free poster for the game. The fact that I couldn’t feel my toes paled in comparison to the smile on Daniel’s face. We arrived home at 1am, and to clinch the Mother of the Year award I let Daniel stay up all night to play Ghosts with his online friends and let him skip school today. Daniel is in Grade 12 and has been bringing home 80’s and 90’s in all of his courses without me ever having to nag at him about getting assignments done on time or studying for tests, so I thought this would be a great reward and an incentive to keep up the great work.
So, yes I went to work very tired this morning, but was it worth it? Definitely!