I have a nine year old boy who is obsessed with Pokemon. Quite literally, obsessed. He wakes up in the morning spouting facts about snorlax and meowth, all through breakfast I hear about level ups and the jodo region and whenever we’re driving in the car he’s going on and on about pokey-something but I tune out and I see his mouth moving but all I hear is blah, blah, blah.
I’ve tried to be interested. I’ve tried to care. I’ve tried to learn the names of some of the cute characters but there are just too many and I get confused. And if I’m honest, I really don’t care. Like, at all. I’ve caught myself saying things like, “why don’t you talk to your friends about this?” I want him to come to me to share all parts of his life. I really do. I would just prefer that there would be more chatter about things he did at school or whom he played with. No. I just hear who traded him a chimchar for a bedoo.
This morning he was barely awake and he flumped onto my bed complete with stinky breath and sleep still very much in his eyes. He started in on which level 64’s he had and I looked at him with complete bewilderment and love and asked, “Honey what is it about Pokemon that you love so much? Like, why do you know everything there is to know about Pokemon but not about Mario and Luigi?”
And this, dear mothers out there who may be in this same position, was his answer.
Well Mom, in Pokemon there is a challenge. You are constantly trying to evolve into a stronger creature until you are the champion in a region. You get to keep growing and changing until you are the most powerful. In Mario you just hop around and eat mushrooms and stuff. In Pokemon you can rule over things!
Suddenly it made sense. It’s like a boy can grow into a man without having to wait 20 years. He can grow and learn and change and become more powerful right in his own bedroom. He can have control over an entire region when in real life he can’t even get his brothers to agree with him. He can be a champion. And the boys at school think he’s a rock star.