Friday, March 27, 2015

What's Minecraft got to do with Writing and History?

What's Minecraft got to do with writing and history??
Well, what's Minecraft not got to do with something, would be a better question to ask I think!

Yesterday, Raghav called me to show all his new updates in his world in Minecraft - a regular feature that happens every day, or every other day. And I was surprised to see what he had created and his new interest in 'writing'. For a child whose dislike for school started with being forced to write any more than he wanted to, and more so when it started eating into his play time, to have come this far today, is an achievement that fills me with joy and gratitude for Life, who showed me the path that I needed to take with him.

Here is what he shared with me, as part of the many other things that he had created yesterday.....
It is a conversation that he has recorded by typing it all out in his 'KEEP IN TOUCH BOOK' in his Minecraft world, between him (denoted by 'r') and the 'Red Village Leader' (denoted by 'rvl'), about some events that transpired yesterday in the world! It's truly amazing the things one can do and create with Minecraft, which I have myself been watching and learning only of late, from and with him. I can see now how for him, it is like an artist's palette and canvas, where so many worlds are created inside worlds....

The 'Keep in Touch' book is his own idea for a name

the conversation between him and the village leader

A little note I found by his computer, which I think are his 'notes' of coordinates to the village in his Mesa World :)

What amazed me was his new interest in writing, which was one of the sore points many years ago, for his wanting to quit school. He stopped writing then, except for special occasions like people's birthdays when he would make a card or something for them, or when he would help me occasionally with my shopping list, or when he wanted to make labels for things he had built with Lego. We never forced him to write at all, nor did we even ask about or mention writing with him after he quit school. We simply let it go. And this is the first time he has written so much in all these years!

Here is the conversation between me and him when I saw what he had written....

R: This is a conversation between me and the Red Village Leader about things that happened in my Mesa World today.
Me: Ok. How long did you take to type all this?
R: About five minutes I think.
M: How did you get this idea to put it down like a conversation? I love it! Did you happen to read my blog sometime or happen to watch me type out our conversations on the blog? Because I have used the same idea!
R: I knew you would love this! No, I haven't seen that....I didn't get the idea from you...I thought of it on my own.....but it is funny that we thought of the same thing!
Me: So why did you want to do this?
R: I wanted to record what happened somewhere....the catastrophe which happened! So I decided to write it down in my 'Keep in Touch' Book. And this is not only about writing it all down. It is about history too....about things which happened in a particular order in a place.
Me (smiling): Ok....So, are you also your own best friend?
R (smiling back) :Yes.....kind of!

I smiled and hugged him. I told him how much I loved this idea and the execution. And I quietly wondered how he had  figured out on his own, what 'history' actually meant to him! Watching my son learn gives me a real high :)

I remembered how frustrated he used to get with writing even on those few occasions, when the letters would not turn out the way he wanted them to look.....he wanted them to be perfect.....he hated making a mistake and rubbing it off or striking it out. He would just scream, get up and walk away from it and never come back to it. I also remembered how he had told me once about how the teachers at school expected them to know spellings of words without having taught them, or without them having enough opportunity to have seen those words. "How can they expect us to know the spellings that they haven't taught us? How can they expect every letter, every time, to be perfect?", he would ask. And I would listen in silence.

Today I am happy that he is enjoying writing in his own way. I am happy that he has figured it out on his own - the spellings, punctuation, spacing, formatting and expressing his creativity in his own way. I am most happy that I don't know how he learned all this. I am most happy that Life did not let me into this secret! Oh, what joy it is to experience this today! :) I am filled with gratitude for Life, who has shown me yet again in her own way, that we are on the path that was meant for us to take.....

So yes, this is not 'writing' if one is looking at the traditional idea of writing as what one does with a pen and paper. But this is perhaps what 'writing' is a world where technology reigns.....
For some of us who perhaps don't want to change with the times, it perhaps rules the mind, bringing up many fears about our future - the fear of loss of years of culture and civilization and beauty......but for some who seem to be 'in tune' with the changing world, I wonder if it perhaps becomes the palette of a spirit that knows not only how to survive, but also how to dream and thrive and look for beauty in new ways.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this story! I love it and I'm looking forward already to experience a similar situation with my son in the future.


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