If you’re like me, an 80’s or 90’s kid, you remember when Pokemon first aired. You know the theme song (and nearly all of the Poke rap) by heart—even twenty years later. You owned all of the games (we sure did!) and dreamed of being a Master Pokemon Trainer! Recently, I downloaded the Pokemon Go game to my iPhone, and it’s been my constant companion since then. The best part? My children love the game just as much as I do! Although they don’t have their own phones or tablets to play on, I let them catch Pokemon on mine when I come across them. We walk and visit major stops together as a family. My six year old truly enjoys our “Pokewalks” around the neighborhood. He loves chasing down rare Pokemon.
There are a lot of life lessons I learned while watching Pokemon as a kid. These are lessons that we, in turn, can teach our children now with Pokemon Go.
The greatest adventure is outside your door.
Pokemon Go has been able to get people outside, walking, and talking to one another. They placed Pokestops at gyms and historical locations across the nation as well as at parks and playgrounds—places you can not only gather valuable items but learn more about where you are from. Each time you stop, you find another opportunity to share about the significance of the location with your children.
In Pokemon Go, there are three factions based after the three legendary bird Pokemon: Zapdos (Team Instinct), Molters (Team Valor), and—my favorite—Articuno (Team Mystic). These teams have formed families in their respective communities. It’s been wonderful watching them ban together against rival teams, and overall, the rivalry is even friendly! One of the next updates available will be the ability to trade Pokemon with other people—which further enhances the social experience. You gotta catch them all, but you need others to help you. The power of teamwork!
Failure isn’t the end of the world.
It’s such a hard topic for kids to understand. How can failing make you better? If I fail, why should I even continue? Pokemon Go (and the entire Pokemon series) is such a powerful testimony to how getting up and overcoming our failures truly makes us better than we were. Ash fails in every episode at everything in the show, but towards the end, with the help of his friends, he’s able to turn failure into success and reach his goals. In the game, the idea is to capture as many Pokemon as you can and to battle gyms to level up your Pokemon to be the best. However, Pokemon don’t necessarily like being captured and gym battles range from ridiculously easy to “I’m never battling again” difficult. But Pokemon nearly always reappear and, with enough hard work and dedication, the toughest gym leader can be beaten.
Although the game may eventually fade, the lessons that we can use it to teach our kids won’t. Pokemon Go is a treasure box full of things we can use to communicate truths to our kids. So go out with your family, and be the very best—like no one ever was.