“This is why our children find video games so enjoyable and even addictive,” said the instructor of the Nurtured Heart parenting class I enrolled in as a means to transition back into the role of mother after a year-long deployment.
“Think about it”, she said, “they are offered a hands-on experience with an achievable goal that has regular rewards as they make progress. And the cost of failure is negligible, so they are not afraid to push the boundaries of their previous success.”
I went home that night and really watched the kids playing Mario Kart. They concentrated and shared some competitive verbiage with one another, but I noticed for the first time that they were happy and motivated to try again, regardless of the outcome. When they won, a large trophy appeared on the screen, and they seemed to glow in their sense of accomplishment. If they drove off the road during the game and their car went into the abyss, the only cost imposed was a short delay before they rejoined the race. They didn’t hesitate to attempt the same move again. Regardless of their final place in the race, the costs of failure were small, and they were ready to give it another try.
Watching them prompted me to think about my teaching and how these strategies might work there as well.