The Skill I Learned From Video Games That’s Helping Me Most As A Parent

What skills did you hone while gaming that now help you as a parent? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Julie Anne Exter, mum of 3 boys:

This will probably sound sort of bad, but here it is: the primary skill I’ve gained from video games that helps me as a parent is grinding.

Some of my proudest achievements in MMORPGs, and particularly in World of Warcraft (my clear favourite) have been the result of outrageous, time-consuming grinds. I earned the Insane in the Membrane feat of strength and its associated title in WoW, which took many hours of killing the same low-level mobs over and over again. Most recently I fished for hours and hours to get the Crimson Water Strider mount. It was tedious. It was repetitive. It took forever. I often questioned my motivations for doing it in the first place. Grinding in video games takes an obscene amount of patience and dedication. And then, finally, at the end of all those hours — boom — the grand payoff: something rare and unique that not many people have the patience to achieve.

Parenting is the ultimate grind, at maximum scale. The hundreds (thousands?) of sleepless nights, the tantrums on the floor at the mall because the pizza came with some dreaded flecks of seasoning on it, the endless fights over getting shoes on and getting out the door in the morning, the whining. The barf. The diapers. The in-fighting between siblings. It’s hard, and tedious, and repetitive. And as the kids get older, the grind doesn’t go away; it just slowly evolves into different grinds. To say that you need patience and dedication feels wrong, because you need so much more than that to succeed as a parent. It’s the kind of patience and dedication that are forged in the fires of this vast, bottomless, aching love that gets branded on your heart the moment your kid comes into the world. It is legendary armour.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a grind if there weren’t an exquisite payoff at the end of it. Obviously, parenting doesn’t have an end, so the payoffs are unlimited, just like the grind is. The small stuff: the little hands grasping my face as my youngest son plants big, slimy, peanut-buttery kiss on my nose. The shriek of unbridled delight my middle son lets out when he sees me waiting for him in the schoolyard at the end of his school day.

And, of course, the big stuff: watching my kids turn into the people I’m raising them to be. (I guess my husband’s helping. I mean, whatever.) That payoff goes on forever, and is worth the grind a thousand times over.

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