My kids are hooked on Minecraft. In case you don’t know it’s a computer game. They play it on the iPad. I think there’s a PC version but I don’t know anything about that.
What I do know is that Minecraft has taught them everything they need to live a fulfilling life. I’m not sure if they’re approaching the 10000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell says they need for mastery. I’m also not sure if I should completely halt their formal education. They are homeschooled and we have considered delegating our responsibilities to robots in the past, so I guess that could be a possibility. It would certainly allow them to pursue true excellence in Minecraft for 12 or 14 hours a day if we did.
In any case, what are these enduring lessons that they have learned about life? Well… Here’s my take on what I think they are learning:
- You need to stay away from Zombies. This is of course the most important lesson for life. Zombies are everywhere. At work. At school. They’re all around. I’m not really sure if they’re like vampires and they suck the life out of you, but they sure are bad news. I’ve spent enough time around them to know that I need to avoid them in my own life. Mostly, you can just avoid them. Sometimes though you just have to take them out. This can be painful and affects your life-force score. That’s definitely something I want my kids to take away from this. Protect yourself from the undead.
- You can create your own reality. I was totally amazed when my 7 year old daughter showed me the world that she had built in Eden, which is a Minecraft knock off (where there are no Zombies incidentally). It was like a three dimensional insight into her 7-year old imagination. It was a huge place with massive buildings, structures, ramps, a throne, her house, and rooms for benevolent creatures to chill out in. She is totally immersed when she is in this virtual reality of her own construction. Currently, in Minecraft she lives in a giant chess game. She built a house inside the clock. This creativity is something to aspire to on so many levels.
- Destruction is creative process. In the Minecraft worlds you can destroy as well as create. You can start with a world that someone else has created and deconstruct it as much as you like to create your world. Or in Eden you can just blow stuff up… Our 7 year old spent a day placing dynamite all through her world just to watch it blow up. It actually took her all day to do this. It was enormously satisfying for her. Kinda fun to watch too. There’s some principle there even if it escapes me. Please don’t call the education office though. We are actually good parents and we do make our children go outside sometimes.
- It’s fun to be on your own, but it’s fun to collaborate too. This is another life lesson that Minecraft really reinforces. You can have hours of fun on your own, but like any kind of work collaboration with others in Minecraft is pretty cool. It is slightly weird seeing three kids sitting on the couch “playing” together in one of these virtual worlds. On the PC version they don’t even need to be in the same location. This is not great for fitness training and exercise but it is a great insight into what this generation is going to expect when they enter the world of adult work.
Personally, I’m not a Minecraft kind of guy. I prefer to hang out on Twitter where I learned everything I need to know from @gapingvoid and his new book – Freedom is blogging in your underwear.