DEPARTMENTS

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'd Like To Thank My Mom


Left to right - Lani (sister), Gabriel (brother), Peggy (mom), Eli (me), and Mel (sister)

Us gamers like to talk about their gaming mentors and the influences in their gaming lives. Usually, this is an uncle, a cousin, a friend, or that beardy guy at the local hobby shop who first introduced you to painted pewter, funny dice and those cool sheets with all the numbers and stuff. For me, I get to count among those mentors my own mother. This may not be a unique thing, but she really is as big an influcne on me as a gamer as anybody else.

I started gaming in the late 70's when there was a lot of negative press on such things and when a lot of schools and parents weren't all that cool with kids rampantly using their imaginations. Sure it was fine to imagine things, but they had better be able to be categorized as an obviously learning tool or something that is attributable directly to a learning process. You could play a firefighter or a pilot or a cop or a robber, but heaven help you if you spent your afternoons pretending to be an elf who hunts treasure and rescues the pixie princess from the dragons and orcs. I dodged this bullet.

My mother is an intelligent woman and though she never got herself fully college educated, many of her friends and the men in her life were. I spent much of my young life surrounded by folks who were not afriad of their imaginations and even though they might be high-browed intellectuals such as my brother's father who now works at the Applied Physics Lab of the University of Washington they knew that wisdom and true intelligence was dependent on creativity. My mother made sure these were the people in my life. Thus I was taught to think for myself and to create and solve problems on my own. I was not coddled or sheltered, though I was protected. We might have fought and we might have argued but I honestly think my mother wanted that from me.

How this all ties in with gaming is that when I discovered D&D, my mother did not discourage me from playing it. In fact, she was one of my firstp layers - she and my stepfather (not the same as my brother's father). I had been introduced to the game by a boy who lived i nthe neighborhood of my brother's father on one of my weekends at his house along with my little bro. I came home jazzed about the game but couldn't get it right away so I wrote my own version of the D&D boxed set and asked my parents to play. The adventure I made was "The Temple of Elf Doom" and it was horrible. It even featured a bard song done to the tune of "Green Sleeves". But my mother and stepdad sat and played.

Later in life, Mom recognized that there were educational benefits as well as social benefits to gaming. I wasn't out getting into trouble and as long as I wasn't spending all my time inside playing dice games, she didn't care. I was reading, doing math, learning to work as a group and using creative problem solving skills. I had a social group that appreciated my gifts of creativity and intelligence. She even defended me against some of her more religious friends who voiced their concerns over my choice of hobbies. Because of D&D and gaming, I came home with arms full of books on history and science. Gaming was also used as a tool for learning valuable life lessons. I did extra chores so I could earn money for books and miniatures. Heck, we even got my little brother to stop sucking his thumb because the miniatures he wanted to play with were made of lead.

I could go on forever on how my mother shaped my gaming career, but I'll close with a simple thank you to her and to you all for sharing my salute to a gamer's mom.

I love you mom!

-Eli

3 comments:

  1. Eli,

    Your momma should be proud of ya!

    Which is a pretty good thing, coming from a Texas boy like me.

    -J

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks guys. It seems only appropriate that she get some credit on here.

    ReplyDelete

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