Parents, teach your kids early about gatekeeping.

Yesterday my son began a sentence with “A REAL Pokemon fan is someone who…” and then rattled off a list of things like knowing stats and attacks of all the Pokemon, building your own trading card game (TCG) deck, etc.

I said to him “A real Pokemon fan loves Pokemon. End of sentence. What you’re doing is called gatekeeping and it’s not fair or kind. I don’t know a quarter of the stuff you know, yet I’ve been a fan of Pokemon since the late 90s. You can’t say I’m not a real fan, right? I’m the one who got you into it in the first place.”

So we had a bit more of a discussion on being inclusive and kind and celebrating common interests regardless of how much someone knows about Charizard’s strongest attack in the TCG.

Yes, the kid’s got a rather encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to his interests, but that just means he can teach and lead instead of keeping people out because of some arbitrary test of facts and stats. I’m NOT raising Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. 😂

Think Different

Several years ago, we had Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite diner. They used to do a fundraiser every Thanksgiving for an orphanage nearby.

We know the owners as family friends. Teddy, one of the owners, sat next to my son who was 5 at the time, and started talking about what he was drawing. Not 100% sure how the conversation flowed, but she asked “Can you write me a check for $1000?”

He obliged, and proceeded to draw a huge check mark on a piece of paper in orange crayon with the number 1000 underneath.

We’re still laughing about it today. Kid’s still a joker and finds creative ways to twist words and ideas for laughs.

Looking at things differently is easy when we’re kids. We don’t know how we’re supposed to perceive and interpret the world, so we go on instinct. The result is usually funny, but always uses the kid’s natural ability to figure things out on their own terms.

When things aren’t working, are you still looking at the problem the same way you always have? Try putting yourself into a kid’s mindset – wide open curiosity – assume nothing – look at it with a beginner’s mind, and see what happens.