Life Lessons from Minecraft: There will always be more diamonds.
I am the proud dad of two boys - 5 (going on 13) and 13 (going on 18). Parenting two boys calls for a unique set of parenting skills - skills which I am still learning and acquiring. I try to impart wisdom on my children through lessons that I've learned during my 40 years on this earth.
That said, one thing I've learned is that the talks about "when I was your age" are about as effective as chopping a tree down with a shovel (if you play Minecraft, you can relate).
So when I attempt to teach them about how to handle feelings toward material possessions, I naturally turned to one major past-time my boys and I have in common - our love of Minecraft. The first three of my "Minecraft Life Lessons" are explained below.
Diamonds won't just be handed to you.
If you've never played Minecraft, that's okay. I think you'll still understand my first lesson from the game. A little bit of context should be helpful, though. Diamonds are one of the elements you can mine in the game. In order to mine, you have to dig underground with tools you've created from other elements in the Minecraft world (like wood, stone & iron, for example).
Diamonds are a coveted resource in the game. You can make powerful, durable objects from diamonds, such as armor, weapons (swords) and tools like pickaxes and hatchets.
Diamonds are also quite rare and hard to come by. You can dig for hours and never come across any diamonds. Every once in a while I'll get lucky and uncover a few diamonds while I'm mining. I store them away in my chest for safe keeping and usually save them up to make something extra cool - like an enchanted set of diamond armor!
The lesson is, that (in Minecraft Survival Mode) diamonds aren't just handed to you. You have to go find them. You have to dig for them. The more you dig, the more likely you are to find them.
No, you can't have my diamonds; I worked hard to get them. And no, going into creative mode isn't the same thing. Minecraft may have a creative mode, but life doesn't. Put in your time, do the work and find your own diamonds.
Sharing Diamonds with your younger brother is good for you.
13 and 5 is a pretty big age difference. I'm actually often amazed by what my 5 year old is able to build on his own in Minecraft. That said, he's usually building his "houses" out of dirt, wood or even wool most of the time and I wouldn't call them architectural masterpieces quite yet.
He doesn't know the value of a diamond, nor does he really care. He just knows they're "cool" and he likes the way his Steve character looks when he's wearing the shiny blue diamond armor.
Sharing diamonds, on occasion, with your younger brother is a grown-up gesture to do. He likely will never find diamonds on his own. I regularly make items for him out of diamonds and iron. Why? Because it's just "stuff" and it's not even real stuff. It's just Minecraft stuff. So why not share?
There's more to Minecraft (and life) than diamonds.
Minecraft is a very simple game, and yet it has many facets. The premise is quite to the point - survive (in survival mode) or build (in creative mode). There are many different elements in the game, such as coal, gold, wood, wool, iron and red stone, just to name a few. Each element has a unique purpose in the game - some keep you alive while others may just be for decoration.
You could absolutely survive in Minecraft without ever finding a single diamond. Diamonds are not necessary for survival. It's important to remember that there's a lot more to Minecraft than diamonds, just like there's a lot more to life than the accumulation of wealth or more "stuff".
What do you think? Do you agree with these Life Lessons from Minecraft about sharing and selflessness? How do you help to instill important values to your children?