Written by Doctor G

Collect the darn Pokemon cards!

Think of the most pointless, nonsensical hobby that fascinates one or more of your kids.  In my house it is Pokemon.  This is a language I don’t speak, characters I cannot keep track of, books I can read aloud and not understand a word.  My sons can spend hours – actually more than one solid hour – discussing, arguing, organizing, strategizing, all within this world.

For you maybe the obsession you can’t get your brain around is media driven.  Gossip Girl or NHL hockey or The Vampire Diaries or Glee, Gaga or Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift or Eminem, the Twilight series or Harry Potter.  For a lot of parents, these subjects are only more horrifying when our children expect us to keep up with it, telling stories about these characters with more passion than they use to discuss friends they actually know.

Most of us use this as a chance to tune out.  We know how fleeting these fire-in-the-belly love affairs are with teen idols and trading cards.  Why pay attention when it will change in a few days or weeks and it’s completely trite and annoying anyway?  Well, I’ve got some bad news.

What is important to someone we love should rate our attention.

More than that, your child loves you and so wants you to see the glamour of this new world they are immersed in.  Don’t ignore the invitation.  If this newfound love is not immoral, unethical or terribly fattening, get involved a little.  If you ignore the invitations, eventually you’ll stop getting invited.

When our kids are younger it seems they will always want our attention and participation.  Not so.  As teens, most will realize that their friends are more fun.  They will recognize on some level the need to start separating from us.  All this is normal.  If they also believe we are not interested in their interests, they will have one more excuse to disconnect.

Learn enough about this topic to have a reasonable conversation.  Watch the show occasionally, enough to recognize the characters.  Read a book or listen to the music – even when your child is not around.  Gather some information they don’t have so you can add a little to the conversation.  Don’t just learn the names of the Jonas brothers, find out what music they like (quick internet search) and check it out on I tunes with your daughter.

I’m not suggesting that you try to out-cool your kids.  Don’t dress like a character (though one team jersey is a good idea for game day) your child adores.  Don’t try to talk like that character.  Try to avoid doing anything truly cringe-worthy.  Just learn enough to not look blank or stupefied when the topic comes up.

This is a lot to ask, I know.  I absolutely don’t want to take the time to learn about Ash and Pikachu.  I mean, really? But my kids have asked me three times if I would like Pokemon cards for Mothers Day.  So I’m going to say yes.  And they’ll probably fleece me when we trade.

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2 thoughts on “Collect the darn Pokemon cards!”

  1. “If this newfound love is not immoral, unethical or terribly fattening, get involved a little. ” like this:)

    I needed this post right now, so thank you.

  2. also, the artwork on Pokemon cards is surprisingly intricate and enjoyable. so there’s that…

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