I just posted this comment to a thread following a friend's picture of her son, DSi by his side, Pokemon Black and White guidebook on his lap, a look of total concentration in his entire posture. Someone else had just posted that they regretted the money they had "wasted" on Pokemon, as a younger person.
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Because of Pokemon, I have a son who wants to learn Japanese, has a deep understanding of evolution and guilds, who possesses mad math skills, who immerses himself in concepts for a machine to make Pokemon real, which leads to much scientific discovery and conversation about ethics, philosophy, technology, and lots else, who enjoys writing, who is exploring animation, who is a whiz at online, word-of-mouth, and written research, who confidently addresses games shop employees, who mentors his older cousin and younger sister in game play, who budgets his resources carefully, who can rewire a DSi charger, and who chats internationally with other players.
And I have the excitement in his eyes, the pleasure of witnessing his imagination and perseverance, the joy of him including me in his passion, because I support it. Oh, and sooo many hugs, kisses, and snuggles as he shares that world with me.
I would say that the money invested, so far, for my 9.5yo, has been well spent indeed! =D
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Every word above is true. Perhaps, had my own parents been more supportive of my "wasteful" passion - Star Trek, and, specifically, Spock - I might not see the value inherent in any passion.
Mine was definitely seen by my mother as beneath me, something "stupid". And yet, through Star Trek I first found Shakespeare. I learned the genus species name for honeybees (apis melifera). It was where I first learned about supernovae, how planets are formed, event horizons, the Russian name for humpback whale (vessyl kit - how lovely!), ethics (the Prime Directive), philosophy, tolerance (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination), the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Occam's Razor, Prometheus, Dreamtime, and the possibility of learning some degree of control over one's emotional responses.
It is where I broadened my perceptions, in so many ways. My serious and lifelong passion for writing began there, with Spock, maybe the single most "fascinating" character in history. It's where I first KNEW, really and truly, that it is OK to be as smart as I am, and to show it - and it is also OK to be and admit to being utterly ignorant on a topic - and to open myself to learning from as many sources as life presents.
Without Star Trek, I would not be as fully who I am as I am today.
Without Pokemon, Jeremiah would be less fully who he is, too.
It is not for any of us to dictate what should fire the soul and imagination of another. It is for us to treat our passions, and others', as valid portions of our lives, perhaps the parts that define us most wholly and clearly. It is for all of us to claim, and help others to claim, the great loves of our lives - regardless of whether they seem utterly wasteful to others.