This will be (has to be!) a quick post because time is short this morning.
A while back, my son (who has been attending classes remotely since September) mentioned something about playing Dungeons & Dragons to his class during one of their daily Zoom meetings, and was surprised to find out his teacher also plays D&D (I was not surprised as I recall her telling the class the first week of school that her favorite literary genre was "fantasy" and that her favorite books were those ones by J.K. Rowling).
Anyway, when classes again started up this week (post-Thanksgiving break), it was Diego's turn to "share" (what my school would have called "Show And Tell" back in the day), and so he decided to show his class the D&D game he'd spent his vacation playing. He walked them through a brief overview of how the game is played, showed them books, explained differences between B/X and AD&D, and talked about role-playing games in general. Most of his 4th grade class, of course, drew solid blanks on all this...they spend the vast majority of their time playing Minecraft and Roblox or other kid-friendly video games that entertain you while melting your brain.
[I should admit that my wife recently relented (when I wasn't around) and downloaded Minecraft on her phone and an iPad. She has come to regret this, as now the kids are gluing their eyeballs to the screens whenever they are allowed (and sometimes even when they're not). Fortunately, me upping the D&D play around the house has, especially for the boy, helped curb the addiction (Sofia's desire to "minecraft" is much less anyway). But, man, those things are insidious!]
But that doesn't mean they didn't perk up and become interested in this "role-playing thing." One kid said she had tried RPGs but hadn't liked them, but "this D&D game" made her want to give it another shot (don't know what she played before). Another girl was inspired to write her own RPG (after part of Diego's presentation included his own "RPG" he wrote - a mecha game that uses LEGO). Several kids expressed hope that they could play D&D with Diego once they were all able to get back to in-person classes.
Their teacher was (as one might guess) pretty enthusiastic and aided Diego in explaining some of the differences between tabletop RPGs and other board games...a fairly tough slog (I listened from the other room without participating); neither teacher nor student really had the vocabulary to properly express the ideas, but I think the other kids got "the gist." After that, I had to go pick up my daughter (who gets to spend a half day in actual school).
Later, the boy told me his teacher said she'd spent her Thanksgiving playing D&D, too. He asked her which edition she played: fifth edition. He also told me she'd "outed herself," accidentally disclosing her age: 29. A little quick math in Ye Old Noggin allowed me a few speculations:
- She would have been born in 1991; this is after the advent of 2nd edition AD&D (though, of course, babies don't usually play D&D).
- She would have been about 9 years old (my son's age) when 3rd edition was released.
- She would have been about 17 (high school senior) when 4th edition was released.
- She would have been about 23ish (grad school?) when 5th edition was released.
[Washington State requires an M.I.T. to teach elementary school but there are several good programs...including my alma mater...where you can get it done in one year]
So while I suppose it's possible his teacher is familiar with the editions of D&D that I'm raising my children on, I think it's more likely her inclinations, assumptions, and concepts with regard to D&D play are based on latter day versions of the game; things like: story-driven plot arcs, assumption of inherent morality, combat-based (and/or fiat based) reward systems, low mortality/consequence challenge, and an emphasis on character build over (in-play) player ingenuity and cooperation.
In other words, a style of Dungeons & Dragons that I'm not a big fan of.
So what? Why does it matter? Diego, unfortunately, has already inherited much of my bias (I'm such a terrible parent) and exhibits only disdain for modern innovations ("Death saves?! Are you kidding me?") so I'm not really worried about him being "led astray."
|'Handle with care?' It's|
not like the thing will
burn your hand...
BUT...*sigh*. Diego does get lonely sometimes. Not that he doesn't have friends...he is very social and gregarious and is liked and respected by his classmates and teammates. But he doesn't have peers who are really on the same page. He has moments where he complains mightily about not having kids his age that relate to him with regard to his likes and interests...despite still being good friends.
And here he has a chance to get them into his world! Share his blossoming enthusiasm for this strange hobby! And even get encouragement and a stamp of approval from an authority figure (the teacher) that could lead to peers actually entering his world (for a change) instead of only participating in their world...
I would hate for clashing biases to make the experience a miserable one for my kid.
I know, I know: such a stupid thing to worry about these days, what with everything else going on in the world. Parents have stupid things they worry about when it comes to their kids. I'm fairly certain my kids will end up as functional, if flawed, adults (the vast majority of us do), regardless of the journey life throws at them. Still, it is, I think, natural that parents would like that journey to be as happy as possible.
Anyway. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
[aaaand...turns out my time was TOO short as I'm posting this on Thursday instead of Wednesday. Sorry about that]