My Evil Plan: Use “Minecraft” to Teach Compassion


 I need 100 of these puppies by Christmas! OMG!

I need 100 of these puppies by Christmas! OMG!

You may note my absence over the next few weeks or, you may not. Who can say? That really depends, I suppose, on two things.

One has more to do with you — whether or not you note my presence on a regular basis — for those of you that do, a hearty “Thank You!” is in order.

The other possible reason for my impending disappearance from the blogosphere has more to do with me — whether or not I can reach my goal of crocheting five granny squares a day and still carve out the time necessary for creating the mind-blowing blogs that I’m (semi-) famous for in certain circles (the basket-weaving one at the local funny farm, perhaps?).

I find myself in this predicament as a result of promising to make a “Creeper” blanket — that’s a character from a videogame that is, purportedly, wildly popular with the kids these days. I am “on the hook” (crocheters will get that reference AND they’ll think it’s funny) to not only make one-hundred of these foolish squares, but also to sew them together in such a way as they form a blanket. In other words, I have to come up with a finished — and lovingly crafted — handmade product prior to December 25th.

The finished product SHOULD look something like this!

The finished product SHOULD look something like this!

It all started innocently enough when I asked my friend what her son wanted for Christmas. She told me how much he loves this highly-rated AND educational video game. She told me that he had found, courtesy of the internet and those fine folks who spend their lives fashioning things out of buttons and clay — the ones with Etsy shops — several examples of “Creeper” blankets. The asking prices for these things (upwards of $100) was not in her budget. And, so, as roads to evil are paved — with good intentions — I said something along the lines of “Let me take a look. I’m sure I can make one! In fact, I’d love to make him a blanket. I made your girls theirs, I’ve never made him one!” Yup. I’m an idiot.

I don’t know anything about the game. I did, however, find it interesting that she went on and on about how it’s one of the few videogames that the elementary school educational community considers to be “not a complete waste of time”. (A resounding endorsement if I’ve ever heard one!)

In telling me this I got the sense that she was defending her parenting skills. I had to laugh. Let’s face it, I would have let my kid have a sleepover with Satan if it would have kept her quiet and out of my hair. Everyone knows that Satan LOVES to play Barbies! That he would have had a hard time dressing, undressing them, and getting those Go-Go boots on, you know, because of the cloven hooves and all — that he would have needed my “help” in this area — that’s probably the only reason I didn’t invite him over for a play date.

I also allowed my kid to do all sorts of things that many folks, and by “many folks” I really mean my mother, may not have considered to be at all “age-appropriate”. It’s possible that this list may also have included her teachers, her father, and child service workers, but, let’s be honest, I was really most concerned about incurring the wrath of Grandma! These things included, but were certainly not limited to, watching “Jackass” — in all its incarnations — the movie, the television program, the sequels, the Christmas special.

For whatever reason, “Jackass” tickled me. (Still does!) There’s almost nothing funnier to me than watching a bunch of (allegedly) grown men — in various states of drunkenness and undress — dare each other to do stupid and dangerous stunts for their own and my amusement. The episode where they strap skis to lifeguard chairs and race down a very steep, very icy mountain? Hysterical.

My kid thought so, too. You can’t rule out that her sparkling sense of humor and her fun-loving spirit is a direct result of her introduction to “Jackass” during what most experts would consider her “formative” years. You’re welcome, Fangette!

I can’t say that I didn’t grow somewhat nervous when I realized that she was attempting to reenact, with her Barbie dolls, some of the hijinks she had witnessed “the boys” participating in on the show. Although, I have to tell you that there is almost nothing funnier than hearing your kid ask for your help in making a straitjacket for Ken. You know, so that she could “play ‘Jackass'” in the bathtub later. Clearly, I had a comic genius on my hands.

Listening to my friend wax poetic about some video game, nodding my head in assent as she tried to convince me (and herself, I suspect) that the skills he was learning would serve him well down the line, didn’t seem all that unreasonable. (Not from a woman who chalked up drowning Ken in the bathtub to her child’s possible future as a comedienne!) My friend mentioned how “all the experts agreed” that the game was teaching her son invaluable lessons about time-space relationships and time-management. (I don’t even want to know what the “experts” would have agreed about what I was teaching my kid!)

During the course of our conversation I thought about how I could benefit from better time-management skills myself. It’s safe to say that if I had any time-management skills at all that I might not be in my current predicament, which includes being on a five granny-square-a-day regimen. Perhaps I would have known, as a result of having played “Minecraft”, that there was NO WAY I could complete this project in the allotted time. (Let’s put aside for a minute that I should have known this as a result of being a mature adult person who has crocheted more than one thing in her life!)

I’ve done some research on the game and I’ve learned that when this “Creeper” character pops up with the intention of destroying your stuff, he says, “Oh, you have a very nice EVERYTHING!” (Players then have ten moves to block him. After that, their stuff is history.) So, I was thinking — because I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve and because kids are gullible — if I don’t finish the blanket, I can just tell my little friend that “Creeper” showed up and that I made the wrong moves. As a result of failing to secure my granny squares, they were destroyed — by “Creeper”!

He’ll believe me, too — his opinion of my videogame-playing skills is that I’m “bad” at them! He’s only seven, but he’s been soundly beating the pants off me at video games for several years now.

As much as I’d like to say that I “let” him win, I’d be lying if I did. Of course, I have an excuse for this, as bad losers everywhere always do. He always suckers me into playing games that he’s played a thousand times, games that I’m unfamiliar with — games like “Sponge Bob” and “Scooby-Doo”. And, for the record, I hate that damn DS. The screen is too small and I’m not used to the controls. I’d like to see him try to best me at “Zelda” on the big screen using the Nintendo 64. I “rule” at that game! (If anyone has a Nintendo 64 laying around, send it on over, would ya? I really need to beat this kid at something, for crying out loud!)

Because he’s been faced with losing his own projects to that annoying “Creeper” character combined with his assessment of my game-playing prowess, I’m confident that he will completely understand why I couldn’t finish his blanket. I wonder if the makers of “Minecraft” (or his mother) foresaw that the game, in addition to possessing its much-touted educational benefits, might also teach a little thing called compassion.




photo credits:
Granny Squares (me!)
“Creeper” blanket




Just for fun and just because I love it — here’s a Christmas song for you! (Also, I need to “Believe” that I can complete this project!)

14 thoughts on “My Evil Plan: Use “Minecraft” to Teach Compassion

  1. […] took a break today from the five Granny square-a-day schedule that I’ve been trying my best to adhere to — the one I put myself on in an attempt to […]

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  2. You can’t tell him that – not cool. Finish that blanket and make him happy. Guilt will get the best of you!

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    • javaj240 says:

      I am sure as hell going to try, LOL! He doesn’t know anything about it, so if I don’t finish it by Christmas I’ll just give it to him as a “nothing day” present. I buy him cars when I go to the supermarket all the time and just give them to him. When he asks me why, I just tell him it’s because he’s such a good boy! (And, he is!)

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  3. […] wrote yesterday about the Minecraft video game. I told you how it’s a game designed to teach children strategy […]

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  4. nights7 says:

    Your Minecraft blanket is going to be great. I wish I had seen this before I started granny squaring away on a Star Wars themed one for my son.
    BTW I have an N64 AND a Zelda game for it. My personal gaming skills are limited to watching though. And I totally agree about the DS, such a tiny screen!

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    • javaj240 says:

      LOL! I’m sure your Star Wars blanket will be great! I’d love to see the finished product!

      The DS is not for old people! I’m very jealous of your video game system AND your games! Old school rules!

      Thanks so much for reading AND for commenting!

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  5. sydneyskye1 says:

    Play date with Satan…lol
    See everyone backs my info that Minecraft has educational value! When your done making the damn creeper blanket you can start crocheting my mother of the year sash! 🙂

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  6. Awesome post, and I can’t wait to see your finished product! Post photos along the way!

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  7. peachyteachy says:

    My kid is a minecraft freak too. I slaved over the minecraft pinewood derby car. I mean WE slaved.

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  8. drewster55 says:

    Your ‘creeper’ afghan caught my eye, as all three of my children absolutely love the game, ‘Minecraft.’ While computer/video games can cause one to waste large amounts of time; this game seems to involve quite a bit of creativity, as one can build a world from scratch. My children have many other interests, including those in the 3D world that involved exercise. However, Minecraft-themed artwork, birthday cakes, Halloween costumes, etc. have made appearances in our home, too. My daughter really enjoyed your afghan as well. Thank you for sharing!

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    • javaj240 says:

      I’m sure it’s a fine game, LOL!

      Just to be clear, that is NOT my afghan— NOT yet, anyway. Soon, though. Soon mine will look like that! God (and Creeper) willing!

      Like

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