Minecraft Lessons by Conlee Ricketts
Let me announce upfront that Minecraft baffles me. When my daughter started playing the pocket edition I asked her why she was holding that package.
“Mom, That’s Steve’s hand.”
“Oh. Who’s Steve? Why does he have that box, it looks like a package?”
“Mom (sigh and eye roll) it’s his hand. This is Minecraft. Everything is a box.”
A game of boxes? In this day and age? Why don’t we just play Pong? Oh well.
Nowadays my daughter plays Minecraft on the PC. What she also does is watch You Tube videos about Minecraft, which initially made me very nervous. I don’t want her glued to the computer, but she seems to laugh a lot, so she shares the videos with me and then tries to explain the whole thing to me. I really don’t put too much effort into the understanding part, but I have been listening to the You Tube videos.
The channel she follows is Stampylonghead, or Stampylongnose. Both names are correct and refer to a young man maybe in his twenties that lives in the UK. He plays Minecraft as well as other games and shares his thoughts while playing. At this point some of you are at the “Uh…duh Conlee” phase of my story, but stick with me.
Never in a million years would I have thought that someday I would be happy about, or even approve of the videos my daughter watches on You Tube. We always look for the lyric version of all popular songs because the official versions typically have material in them my daughter doesn’t want to see.
So, as Skye watches “Mr. Stampy Cat” play Minecraft, Terraria, or try other new games, I find myself loving this guy.
- He follows the number one rule in my house; be kind. Whether it’s his intention or not, and I think it is, he makes it a point to be kind. He sets the best examples for my daughter about kindness, respect, risk taking, humility, and the joy of being yourself. When you listen to his narration you hear the sound of a person enjoying their bliss; he’s funny and sincere.
- He makes me smile. As I do the dishes I hear his 20 minute episodes in the background and I find myself smiling or laughing. He tells my daughter things like it’s okay to mess up. When he’s trying out a new game I’ll hear, “It’s alright if I don’t know how to do this or how this works; everyone is new once.”
- He talks about being patient and needing to do things more than once in order to learn, “That’s how we learn new things,” he tells my daughter.
- He’s humble and admits when he’s embarrassed all the while laughing at his embarrassment—indirectly reassuring my daughter that it’s okay to get embarrassed every once in awhile.
- He’s creative. He demonstrates and encourages my daughter to try to build structures like his, and asks for suggestions from his viewers. Side note: I can’t help but love how Minecraft is improving my daughter’s geometric spatial reasoning. I think her understanding of volume and cubic units, especially the ones you can’t see, is improving.
- He is polite. He always says please and thank you. Who doesn’t love that?
- He’s funny. His running narrative can make me laugh sometimes, especially when he is surprised by “googlies” (the monsters).
- He handles criticism well. He puts himself out there every day opening up to public comments and criticism, and he remembers that his audience is young. When he makes mistakes, misreads something, or overlooks something, and a bunch of what I would call “mean comments” come in, he addresses it in his next video so well and with a level of kindness that demonstrates to my daughter that you can put yourself out there, receive criticism, and not take it to heart. I love that.
Now I realize that Mr. Stampy Cat has over a million followers and a lot of this information is not new to some of you—but it’s new to me. I’m nearly 50 years old with an eleven year old and this whole world of video games is something I truly thought I would never need to know—but now I do, and I want to know what my daughter is watching and listening to. So if this information is still giving you that urge to criticize me for the “DUH!” factor of this story, I’m not worried in the least.
Do you know why?
Because I know there is at least one person out there who won’t criticize me for being a “nube” and that person is Mr. Stampy Cat!