[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo follows up his report of Nintendo's Pokémon Black & White Tour with a sweet, touching reflection on being a parent and watching your children grow up. Special guest artwork supplied by Maré Odomo.]
I Wanna Be the Very Best
If you were kind enough to read my write-up of the Pokémon Black & White mall tour, you’d know that my family loves Pokémon in all shapes and forms. In fact, my son Kazuo even sees our family structure as if it were straight out of the Pokémon animated series. He has decided that he is Ash, his sister Yoshie is Pikachu, Missus Raroo is Misty, and I’m Brock.
Kaz recently celebrated his fourth birthday. He is now at the age where he has the attention span to focus on video games, and we have been enjoying Pokémon Black together, usually playing a little bit before bed every night.
It’s a very sweet bonding experience. We brush our teeth and change into our pajamas, then climb into bed and snuggle next to one another, hoping to encounter some new Pokémon that we’ve never seen before. Often he gets to stay up past his bedtime because his enthusiasm and excitement are just too adorable for me to resist.
Sometimes as I lay there next to Kaz a thought will pop into my head: Being a parent is kind of like being a Pokémon trainer. Children’s development hinges in large part upon the time and effort their parents are willing to put in, which parallels Pokémon and their trainers.
There are some parents and Pokémon trainers alike that pour countless amount of attention on their favorite little monsters, while others would rather just drop them off at daycare as long as possible and let someone else do the work. As with Pokémon, children excel in different areas, and parents need to recognize and appreciate the unique strengths of their children and help foster their development accordingly.
Though training Pokémon can be tiring, raising children can be downright exhausting. Parenting is a job that doesn’t ever stop—at least, it is if you actually care about being a parent. I can’t simply put Kaz away into a Pokéball and forget about him when I’m feeling burnt out. The closest thing I can do is hope he’ll entertain himself for a little while with his toys (or, when I’m really lazy, his favorite television shows). Being a parent is hard work, and I know I’m far from perfect.
I make a lot of mistakes as a parent. Sometimes I raise my voice at my kids, and on rare occasions I even throw in the towel and let my son and daughter get away with being naughty because I’m too tired to put up a fight. I’ve been a parent for a little over four years now, yet there are times I still feel like an absolute beginner. Each day is a learning experience, and the most I can do is try not to repeat my blunders.
But, despite my shortcomings, I take my role as a dad to heart and I’m very involved in my kids’ development, and that counts for a lot. And, thankfully I’m not alone. My wife is a great teammate, and together we pick up each other’s slack. If Kaz and Yoshie are our little Pokémon, we’re doing our best to get them ready to take on the top challenges that await them as they journey forward in their lives. I know I’m not a perfect parent, but that’s not going to stop me to keep striving to be. I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was!