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Don’t Dismiss What You Don’t Understand

Yesterday I spent an incredibly pleasant lunch in the park with our 14 year old son, eating sandwiches, and playing Pokémon Go. When the lure I had set at the local Pokestop had faded, and I suggested it was time to get back to work, my son said “this was fun. Can we do it again?”

It’s with these words ringing in my ears that I spotted this meme:

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It’s easy to blow off something like Pokémon Go as a fad, as a waste of time, as ridiculous and not worth learning about. And, of course, you are welcome to believe all of those things – but if you haven’t taken time to understand the game, then you are closing yourself off from learning something new, and perhaps connecting with the next generation.

As a parent, becoming a trainer on Pokémon Go allowed me to participate with my son on his terms. We compared notes on critters collected, and enjoyed people watching as our lure attracted not just wild Pokémon, but also young trainers intent on filling their Pokédex.

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But I’m not just speaking as a parent – I’m also speaking as a professional communicator, an employer, and as a person in the world.

We are pounded with advice that we need to connect with Millennials, and yet when given the opportunity (according to one report 46% of Pokémon Go players are between the ages of 18 to 29), we either blow it off, or make fun of it.

Instead, what would happen if we actively participated? If we played the games, read the books, watched the movies and tv shows, and learned the language?  I suspect we might start to connect, authentically, with the next generation, as I did with my son in the park.

Or at the very least, we will figure out that the “smart” one is the person outside hunting Pokémon in the sun, and not the person posting memes from their desk.

Photo credit: Meme Generator

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Dismiss What You Don’t Understand

  1. I 100% agree with you Kristin. Pokemon Go has given me a whole new connection with my son who I previously was having a really hard time getting through to. I actually had tried to play some of his other games with no success and even less enjoyment on either of our parts. This game has gotten us out regularly and given us something to talk about that we both enjoy. I may not be quite as obsessed as he is but it’s pretty close!

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    1. One of the most engaging recent conversations with my younger son (age 19) was on the topic of Pokemon Go. I asked him to explain it to me. Rather than the “grunt” response I expected, his face lit up and we spent almost half an hour in a I asked/he answered back-and-forth.

      If I’m interpreting the rules correctly, my resulting understanding gives me mocking rights, correct? I’m not saying that I’m going to exercise those rights, just clarifying for the record.

      For instance, if I saw this (from 5 years ago, so not PG-related), I’d be free to mock, right?

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      1. Absolutely (I love that video). If anything, I still “mock” but now it’s about how I’m a “hella cool” parent for playing Pokemon with my son. There is much eye rolling and laughter on that one.

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  2. I have really enjoyed the time my son and I have spent playing Pokemon Go. He loves that we can share something. He has been a Pokemon fan for years and until now it was a whole different language that I really didn’t understand. It has been fun having him teach me some things for a change.

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  3. My husband left right about the time this came out. Both our teenagers are Pokemon fans. I used this to stay connected with them and get them out of the house and to take their minds away from our separation—just wish I understood all the evolutions:)

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