We had a long family conversation before we left on our Southern Oregon vacation. The kids wanted to bring computers and games to play during down-time. The parents wanted everyone unplugged, but mostly we wanted peace. Kids got their way this time with the caveat that they had to instantly put it away when asked. They agreed and (mostly) complied.
We had no comparable conversation about their phones, however. Even though Tween’s “phone” is a donated iPhone 5 with no SIM card or data plan, both boys have phones firmly in their possession at most times. And both have, on said phones, the Pokemon GO game they have eagerly anticipated for the last year. So Guy downloaded it as well, and we played as a family.
Pokemon roam a wide habitat, and so we avoided arguments about any destination. Pokemon of many varieties, a Pokestop, a lure, or a gym could always be found–even on hiking trails and in National Parks. Spontaneous conversations bubbled up among strangers all searching for the same things, and so we shared laughter and camaraderie with people we’d never met. A comment by one stranger sent us to a darling nearby town we would have missed entirely except that it had more Pokestops than anywhere else we’ve seen. The dog got more exercise than ever in her life because Pokemon eggs incubate as you walk. The parents got an afternoon ‘off’ to wine taste in the Rogue Valley while Teen drove Tween around town hunting Pokemon. The kids didn’t fight but rather worked together…all week long!
Early on Tween declared, “This isn’t vacation. This is a Poke-Cation!” And I expect that our shared play time will make this trip memorable in more ways than one.