June 29, 2010

Unschooling Is Like A Game Of Super Mario Galaxy 2

When Jerry got the first Super Mario Galaxy game and asked me to play I was excited. But the excitement died when I discovered that, as player 2, my contribution was limited to collecting stars and freezing enemies. Where was the glory? When did I get to kick some ass? Eventually, I gave up out of sheer boredom.

Last week, Jerry and I played a game of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Once again, I was player 2. But this time I could also obliterate enemies by shaking the remote. A minor change, really. But, something else was different, too–my attitude. I thought of myself as the support crew. I wasn't there to win–I was there to support Jerry. And once I accepted that I was the sidekick, I had fun–especially once it hit me that my role as player 2 in the Super Mario Galaxy games is exactly the same as my role as an unschooling parent! I'm along for the ride. I'm not leading the way, but every now and then I throw in something new. Sometimes it's helpful and Jerry wants me to keep at it and sometimes he asks me to back off. But, I'm always covering his back–freezing enemies, collecting stars, asking where he wants me, and occasionally suggesting one tactic or another. It's a team effort, getting Jerry where he wants to go, but he sets the destination and leads the way. I'm happy to follow along behind, collecting stars as I go.

9 comments:

JJ Ross said...

Love this! You need to add it to your left-column features on the home page . . .

Colleen said...

Did it! Thanks. :)

Lynn said...

Great post Colleen! x

Tracy said...

Ha! I LOVE it!

Shady Lady said...

That so totally rocks!!!

Molly said...

I asked my husband the other day what his job was as player two, and he said "I'm Mario's wingman." Sometimes it takes hearing it from somebody else for it to click.


I am still struggling with the whole video game thing but I am so glad I found your site and all the links! We are on day 5 of almost unlimited video game play (coincidentally, day 5 of owning this game!) and I'm trying to find trust but it is so hard sometimes. Thank you thank you thank you for once being where I am!

Colleen said...

What I've found to be most helpful with the video game thing, Molly, is to think of it as a passion--like reading, writing, music, art or film making. And to think of the fact that you are accepting your child's passion as a real gift to that child. I'm not saying it's easy! ;) But it definitely gets easier as time passes and as you adjust your thinking. Have you read the "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning"? That's really good. I also found it was helpful to plan days when we wouldn't be home much (assuming Jerry was willing to go along!), so that I'd know there would at least be a few days each week when he wouldn't be gaming all day. That was more for my own comfort than for Jerry. But it helped. Good luck!

Austin said...

Great post :)

Colleen said...

Thanks, Austin. :)