Posted Fri, Feb 07, 2014 by Mem
Recently, an article entitled “Six Real Life Lessons I learned from World of Warcraft” has made quite a splash throughout the WoW community. As the title hints at, this witty piece details several lessons the author has learned in game and has been able to apply in real life situations. Which is a pretty big deal, considering that many games get a bad reputation for being total cesspools that sap the life out of those that play them.
As I sat reading over the article (almost continuously nodding my head in agreement), I started to wonder what lessons I had taken away from the game and applied into my every day life. As I sat and pondered, I realized that World of Warcraft has taught me many lessons along the way, specifically in the parenting department.
What could one take away from a game like World of Warcraft concerning parenting children? More than you might expect. Please, let me elaborate:
One thing I learned about raiding in World of Warcraft is that (adult) people sure do go to the bathroom a lot. They also seem to pick the most inconvenient times. For instance, the guy who went to the bathroom right as we pulled the boss or the other who went as we were handing out loot, holding up the entire raid. We all know when you gotta go, you gotta go, but this ninja bathroom break phenomenon seems to be especially prominent in WoW.
Despite my annoyance with it at the time, the WoW bathroom break has thoroughly broken me in for children. You see, kids go to the bathroom more than any WoW playing adult drinking Red Bull. In fact, my daughter makes it her personal mission to go to the bathroom in every single place we frequent and I mean every single place. However, thanks to World of Warcraft, instead of getting annoying, I just sit back and let the ninja pee breaks roll. After sitting around for 15 minutes waiting for your tank to come back from the bathroom, after announcing he had to “drop the kids off at the pool”, these child induced bathroom breaks ain't no thing.
It doesn't matter if you are raiding, PvPing, or just grouping up with a random to complete a quest, the WoW temper tantrum is bound to happen. Anything can induce it, a raid wipe (for the 90th time), a loss at PvP, or even a player getting loot another coveted. I've even had someone's father come yell at an entire raid because his son didn't get an invite to the group. Big, small, and massively epic, there is nothing quite like the WoW meltdown.
Much to my wonder, these adult cry-fests came in handy. Now when my kids decide to put a full fledged tantrum into effect; I know exactly how to handle it; by ignoring it. You see, getting all riled up and responding only adds fuel to the flames. As WoW has taught me, these tantrum throwers are out for attention and the hope that their yelling, stomping, and wailing will change things in their favor. Tantrums are all about them and no one else.
Letting them vent their anger, without responding to it, get its out of their system and allows them to come to the realization that whinging in this house doesn't get you any place. Are they going to throw another tantrum (probably in a fancy restaurant) someday? Probably. However, at least now I don't take it so personally. So, thank you World of Warcraft tantrum throwers every where; you have made it possible for me to better survive the toddler meltdown.
Daily quests and other types of grinding in World of Warcraft are the bane of almost every player. I am sure all of us can relate to endless hours, glazed look on our faces, we farmed that reputation, pet, or mount. It is tiresome, tedious, and downright mind numbing work. With that being said, it holds a great parenting lesson.
You see, in pictures and movies parenting is displayed as this beautiful thing and it is. However, a lot of the time, is not really all that much fun. Get up, feed the kids, wipe noses, pack lunches, get them off to school, change diapers, and repeat. Over and over and over again. In fact, some days I have to remind myself I am not in some crazy Groundhog Day twilight zone where I am repeating the same day constantly.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but after changing my 10th diaper of the day, watching Toy Story for the 90th time, and (once again) finding mysterious food crumbs on the couch, things get a little strained around here. Thankfully, World of Warcraft and it's wonderful grinds have made me more resilient than most. Yes, I do go a bit crazy sometimes, but just like in WoW, I just put my head down and continue to plod onward.
Before the fancy, new loot system Blizzard worked into the game, running pick up groups was a dangerous endeavor. Players could roll on any loot they wanted, at any time. This meant that, at least a few times, you were bound to get some jerk that thought everything belong to him and him alone.
Parenting small children is much the same. Children (especially tiny ones), firmly believe that everything in existence is theirs. No questions, no talking them out of it. If they see it and decide they want it, it belongs to them. From siblings, to parents, to absolute strangers, I've seen kids shamelessly claim things from them all. Thanks to World of Warcraft, this irks me less than I would have thought possible. I've learned to accept ninjas as a fact of life, so I can easily accept kids and their kleptomaniac ways. So when my youngest steals that doughnut I really wanted, I simply think "loot ninja" and laugh it off.
No matter what game you choose to play, there will always be that one player that feels that they need to tell you exactly how you are playing your character wrong. It has happened more than once to me in World of Warcraft. They always seem well intentioned, but it comes off as rude no matter the circumstance. Heal this way, use this spell, don't stand in that spot. Unwanted helpful advice is always just that, unwanted.
Over the years, I've developed a shell to this kind of advice. I play how I want, when I want, and the way that works best for me. I now use this strategy in my parenting and I am forever grateful. If you thought people telling you that you are playing your character wrong is bad, wait till you become a parent. There are so many choices and every single person thinks that their way is absolutely right.
There are those that give subtle hints and others who come right out and tell you how they would do things differently, but no matter the deliverance, it all boils down to the same thing; my way is the only right way. Breastfeeding, swaddling, pacifiers, co-sleeping, the debates are endless in the parenting world. Thanks to WoW, I have the confidence to politely thank these “helpful” people for their advice and continue on my way, raising my kids the best way I see fit.
The moral of this story is that perhaps video games aren't all mindless drivel after all. In fact, there are plenty of lessons to be learned in game that we can easily apply to real life situations. What lessons have you taken from World of Warcraft and used them in your real life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!