Last night, my son Paolo asked me if I could play Airsoft with him and his classmates. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“My friends want you to come,” he said. “I told them that when we played Paintball two summers ago, you were so good that you won against the four of us [referring to himself, his brother Nicolo, his cousin Nino, and my cousin Tin-Tin].”

He added, “So now they are asking you for a challenge—maybe Nicolo’s class and my class against you?”

“What?!” I said. “You want me to fight with all of you? Wouldn’t that be unfair?” I asked. But deep inside, I was so happy to be given the honor to play with them.

“Yesssss,” he said, grinning.

Since my kids started playing video games, I’ve been playing right alongside them. In fact, I’ve given them some of the best video games ever.

We’ve played Age of Mythology. My kids learned about the different gods, so I know they’d find mythology questions on exams like the Ateneo College Entrance Test easy.

We’ve played Civilization, which brought them from 4000 BC to near-future times.

We’ve played Build-a-lot, which helped them learn about real estate development and sales.

We’ve played Robert Kiosaki’s Cashflow games.

We’ve played Diner Dash, Cake ManiaCinema Tycoon and the likes—all of which are about building businesses, putting in value, satisfying customers, budgeting, planning, controlling, and organizing space.

There are puzzles like Bejeweled and mysteries like Agatha Christie

There’s also Nanny Mania, which emphasizes multitasking and household management.

And of course, Sim City, which has helped hone their creative and critical thinking. Sim City has allowed my kids to act much like a mayor where they can control what the city engineers, city treasurers, and medical team do.

Our common favorite will always be Virtual Villagers, Red Alert and Stronghold.

Now they are playing Old Testament, Fallout and a few others that I have yet to learn about. I know they’re also playing an online game that promotes teambuilding.

There are, of course, disadvantages to letting children play video games: lots and lots of disadvantages.

But what can I really do? So many people from age 10 to 40 play games in Internet cafes, sometimes until the wee hours of the next day. Whether we like it or not, our kids belong to the digital generation. Gaming is part of their life. I can only control the time they spend playing and the types of games they play. I’m hoping they play less and less as they grow up and that they’d also be learning while playing.

I really don’t know the best way to bring up a child. I keep asking parents whom I think brought up their kids properly, judging by their children’s attitude and success.

Yesterday, I asked Mrs. Lilia Vengco, a lady I truly admire not just for her educational leadership but also for her parenting skills. You can read about her and many other wonderful mothers in my next posts.

By the way, last summer, when the most awaited game in the world, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, came out, Paolo and Nicolo asked me to play with them and their classmates in an Internet cafe. They even asked me to practice. It was a lovely offer, but I had to say no.

There are limits to my being a “gamer mom,” and playing in an Internet cafe is one of them.

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