Lessons From Minecraft: Good Ideas Can Come From Anywhere

My kids got me hooked on Minecraft PE. I resisted, but acquiesced to play with them because it was something they were interested in, instead of me trying to get them interested in things I like. It didn't take long, though, when it seemed that my skill quickly outpaced their own. I came up with strategies for overcoming challenges that would set them back, but that isn't surprising when they are still in their early developmental stages. Nevertheless, I knew how to play Minecraft better than they did.

Occasionally I get lost in a labyrinthine cave while strip mining, but I usually find my way back with a full inventory of loot. Not so, on one occasion. I told as much to my six year old son. He told me I should just dig up to the surface. I was in a recently created world with little orientation of the world above my mine. I found less value in being lost above than down below. So I kept up my exploration of the cave, knowing that at some point I may end up dying with no way back to an inventory full of gold, diamonds, and other goodies.

Every couple of minutes he would remind me to just dig up and find my way home with a compass, which I did not have. At one point, after what seemed like a dozen times of telling me the same thing, I told him I didn't want hear his suggestion anymore.

"But dad," he calmly replied, "you can dig up and make a compass. You have the red stone and iron ore to make one."

I was speechless. He was absolutely correct.

I immediately began digging up to the surface. Upon reaching the top I made a crafting table and furnace, smelted my iron ore, and created a compass that guided me straight back home.

It's interesting how my own sense of superiority blinded me to a simple solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem. All I had to do was listen. The irony being that I incessantly complain to my own children that do not do the same.

Good ideas can come from anywhere. Even from those that know 'nothing'.

Posted on Dec 6
Written by Wayne Hartman