There is so much to see when we are fully present in the lives of our children. On the heals of my recent post about those violent video games I think I have been paying attention to how the games are used in my home a little differently. This weeks game of choice has been Fable 3 which is a quest type game set in a medieval time with a goal of becoming a King or Queen. There are a ton of moral dilemmas along the way where your personal choice impacts how the game progresses. My oldest son has been playing this game on line with his peers spanning both in ages and regions. And I dare say the creators of the game never envisioned how these unschoolers would come to use the game.

The group is using a whole lot of creative problem solving and often times are left a little lost if the others are not on line to toss ideas about with. Each has their own game running on their own console, however, they spend a lot of time joining each others games. They pool their knowledge to support each other in completing the individual quests. And this is the one that made me grin from ear to ear the other day, they discuss their choices before making them. They weigh the pros and cons of a moral decision such as “betraying your brother”. What these young people are bringing to the game is their personal knowledge and experience. This is an active task, much like imaginative play.

There is more dialogue I think than anything else. As each player brings to the table their thoughts and ideas. They are negotiating meaning together, questioning each others choices, offering advice and sticking to personal convictions. They are discussing topics like war, marriage, military, wealth and inequality all in the course of questing. In doing this the varying ages are bringing varying knowledge to the table and together they are informing one another. Not only in how they understand these big topics but also in how they know each other.  The friendship bonds tighten as they respectfully accept each others opinions. Sometimes they all agree, other times they agree to disagree.

I so appreciate as well, how they cooperate in navigating through each others games. Choosing to put aside their own quest to support a friend in their quest.  And showing compassion for a friend who’s choice as left them broke or in a mountain of debt.

And what I share here is only the tip of the iceberg. Cause when the games goes off and we snuggle up together the questions unfold for me, providing endless opportunities to fill in the blanks and expand the topics to an even deeper place.

So from last weeks frustrations with others views on the world of video games to this week feelings of immense gratitude for the opportunities they are presenting for my son to expand his world view and build truly meaningful connections.