Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

Creators vs Consumers

the_child and I had a longish conversation this morning about why Rancho Lake does not feature any videogame consoles among its richly appointed amenities. Her mother and I have always been quite strict about making sure than most of her activities are active, rather than passive. Hence she's had very little exposure to broadcast or cable television (none at home), pretty carefully controlled access to videos and film, and her only games have been electronic versions of chess, backgammon and solitaire, plus a few education games.

Since she goes to a Waldorf school, the vast majority of her peers have grown up the same way, in some cases even more strict. She has some classmates who've never seen a video or DVD.

I don't expect to hold the line on video games all that much longer. Her cousin's household has videogames, her friend Z down the street has an X-Box, etc. It's not like they're a secret from her.

So I spent a bunch of time talking about the difference between being a creator and being a consumer. How her mother and I both pursued creation (fiber art and writing, respectively, with various sidelines on both our parts) over consumption. The difference between active imagination and passive, and how once the creativity had been built and nurtured, it was simple enough to understand consumption, but much harder to go the other way.

Her response: "I have a great imagination. I just want to play games."

Fair enough. Ghu knows I've played enough games in my life. And I don't want my prejudices and preferences to inform her life choices -- she has to find her own path. But to me personally, the value in being a creator is so profound and so obvious that it's difficult to contemplate letting her slip away from that.

I know she won't. Video games don't poison the mind, any more than television does. She'll be fine, no matter what happens. But she's going from accepting the boundaries we set to questioning them in very specific, reasoned ways.

I'm proud of her.
Tags: books, child, personal, videos
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