Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Episode Eleven: Take A Nostalgia Trip

I had hoped to offer you a sequel to the 'Share Your Hobby' post this week, but we've had a nasty bout of stomach bug which made things difficult. In the mean time, enjoy...

If there is one thing I remember about my Dad when I was growing up, it was that he loved to tell stories about when he was growing up. To hear the sort of fun he got up to and the inventiveness of what they did was fascinating. It sounded like a different world where 50c got you a ride to town on the tram, two movie tickets and a bag full of Goofy Gums. In hearing these stories, I wished there was a way I could relive those times with him.

I find myself telling my son my own stories about what I did growing up. The fun I had, the mischief I got up to and the lessons I learnt. The interesting thing about my generation is that technology and computers snuck in pretty early and some of my favourite memories of being a pre-teen involve computer games.

I was trying to explain to my eldest son about a strategy war game we used to play called 'Command & Conquer: Red Alert'. It involved defence, offence, construction and finance. The best thing about the game is that it was a multi-player game allowing you to compete over the Internet with different people. It was, in it's time, pretty high-tech, but these days sounds as primitive as my Dad's tram rides and 7c movie tickets. The cool thing about the time my son is growing up in, is that I can show him these old games first hand.

I'm not a huge gamer; I like one or two games and play them until I get sick of them. Then a few years later I get back into them. So, I feel like I have a handle on them and hopefully can pass that approach on to my son (not winning so far, he is game crazy).

Anyhow, we had a great time reliving my early years showing him my strategies and having a friendly competition. Who could outwit who? He's still got a bit to learn, but it's nice to share that little slice of my childhood with him. He probably looks at this game like I look at drawings on cave walls by primitive men, but still.

Apart from being a good excuse to sit inside on a sunny day and play games, the take away lesson is that sharing your experiences with your children is invaluable. If you can relive them, or at least demonstrate those experiences to them, even better. Being able to put those stories into context and letting them see what you got up to as a snot nose will give them an insight into what makes you tick. Those shared experiences will bring you closer together.

Over the last eleven weeks of sharing these ideas with you, I've noticed two things: One, the activity doesn't matter, the time you spend does. I eluded to that earlier but it really is true. Two, a lot of these ideas are humanising us as Dads. I think that is one of the single most important lessons that helped me with my own parenting journey: realising that my Dad was just a regular guy, trying his best. If you can break down that barrier with your children, I think you'll both reap the benefits down the road (I'd like to write more on this if anyone is interested?).

Have fun!

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