Monday, March 09, 2009

Learning Curves

I think I've got my feet under me.  Or maybe I just have my feet pointed properly downstream while I'm being swept along.  That would explain the sense of greater security without actually being out of danger yet.

Not that there's danger.  Or maybe I've underestimated my mousey foes.

I've been GMing a game (it's been years, so it's kinda weird but kewl and fun) for my kids and their friends.  OMG, the fun we're having.   All the newbie mistakes are there, but they're sharp kids and picking up on things fast.  

Observing them (it's for science!) I've realized how much of their behavior is a response to a combination of curiosity, boredom, and an assurance that someone will catch them if they fall.  I knew that was there, but I didn't realize how deeply that ran.  In this case their safety is assured because it's only a mental/chance game, but the effect is the same as living in a safe environment.  They'd be far less likely to look for trouble to alleviate their boredom if they had consequences, especially immediate consequences.  They fear boredom so much, though, that they have an almost unquenchable thirst to create trouble for themselves.

Even with pretend characters, though, they've invested a certain amount of care and so now that they're in trouble due to their carelessness it's fun to watch them throttle back the self-inflicted-chaos factor.  They're learning to trust that the world will provide plenty of dire diversion without them looking for trouble themselves.  It's much too entertaining for me (I feel a little guilty for all the laughs I've had) watching them switch from insulting everyone they come in contact with to earnestly looking for solid jobs.  I can't wait until they figure out the teamwork thing.  That'll be seriously kewl.

This comes back to my son's real life.  I'm looking forward to him taking chances, not because I want him to 'straighten out' or whatever, but because I know that taking chances that are his own choice and that matter to him will be the best way for him to achieve his dreams.  A great deal of the safety nets and resulting boredom/impatience will go away--and he'll miss them.  I'll miss them too, I have to admit, but not enough to want to delay the inevitable and glorious onset of his independence.  I look forward to meeting the man he'll become.

In the meantime we have these pretend places and pretend people to run through their lives, and they're learning a lot.  I'm learning a lot too.  I'm seeing the perception of life through a different lens, and it's a fascinating, if confusing place.  It's strange and wondrous to realize more deeply than I've ever realized before that they don't  know.  They just don't.  They haven't learned.  

So, what haven't I learned?  I bet it's a lot.  I may look at forty-somethings when I'm in my sixties or eighties and think, bemused, wow, they really don't know, do they?  They just don't.  But, if they're willing to see and learn, they will.

4 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

Your last paragraph reminds me of when my FIL tried to intervene in my changing the batteries in a TV remote control so he could "teach (me) how" (I kid you not! He even said, "I realize America probably doesn't have things like batteries yet"), and when I angrily declared that I was sure I was quite capable of doing it on my own, he calmly replied, "You're still too young to know anything." I was 38 at the time.

I'm also GMing an (online) RPG for the first time in decades, and it feels great! The only problem is that I'm afraid I'm getting too wrapped up with it...to the point that my own creativity is outpacing the players. It might even be becoming an addiction.

Rory said...

Sometimes, your beauty takes my breath away. Sometimes your wisdom does. How awesome to have lucked into such a mate!

Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

LOL R has been GMing for our kids for a few years now, and it's been wonderful to watch the occassional "aha" moment, even when they are playing with adults. ;D

Mom's Cleric WILL just let you go right ahead and rush through that door...and maybe heal you when you get clobbered on the other side. ;D

Kami said...

Heh.

Moody: Yeah, wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. You have to actually pay attention and learn.
Rory: You always say the nicest things to me!
Goddess: Yay! Nice to see you online! Yeah, my kids are totally learning that mom will watch them flounder and fall on their asses in a gaming context. Weirdly, it's the closest they've ever come to being in an unprotected world. They have no idea how much I'm holding back. Even kewler, they have no idea how many of the NPCs are a bunch of blustering fakers that they could take on if they ganged up on them. They assume that someone with a big sword and big talk must be a great fighter. Yu huh ...