IMG_2016-07-10-07360986By Anthony Dannar

I have to admit, I haven’t been the greatest father. I find it hard sometimes to want to spend time with my 18-month-old son (even though he is my everything.) Every chance I get, I pawn him off on my wife, or keep him in his kennel until I can cope with his incessant need to “explore.” Just like most Americans, I have a lot on my metaphorical plate. Work, Grand Theft Auto, and an ever growing list of Netflix Original Series to watch usually gets in the way of performing all my fatherly activities.
That has all changed thanks to one very special smartphone app. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the free-to-play location-based mobile game, Pokémon Go forces people to travel throughout the real world in order to catch Pokémon. When before a gamer would spend hours with their face glued to a computer screen, ignoring every human being in the vicinity, now it’s necessary for us to don some tennis shoes and actually go outside.

I have found, that sense I started playing Pokémon Go I have actually been a much better father to my son. How? Here’s how.

I am spending more time with himIMG_2016-07-10-15533588
As previously mentioned, I really never enjoyed spending time with my son. His laughter, his ever growing mind, and his annoying need to constantly say “I love you dada” can sometimes get on my nerves.

Now, my son and I spend hours together thanks to Pokémon GO! We roam the neighborhood looking for rare Pokémon. He loves waving at the neighbors and eating some of the gum he finds off the street, I love catching Zapdos.

PokéGyms, places where people can come together to battle their Pokémon, are everywhere in my hometown, and gives me the excuse I needed to finally show my son some of my favorite local attractions like the Masonic Temple and that place where Bo Jackson once fell off his bike.

We have even played in the park together, creating lasting memories that I will never forget (like when I discovered that Pikachu next to the seesaw). Being a good father is so rewarding. Who would have thought I would be doing all those things I only read about in “Parenting for Dummies”

He’s learning about teamwork and sportsmanship.IMG_2016-07-10-15515970
Teamwork, sportsmanship, and how to handle adversity are all intricate lessons in Pokémon Go.PokéGyms are forcing people to actually meet up and play together. Since it usually takes a team to defend a PokéGym, it is necessary for players to communicate like never before, face-to-face.

Team Instinct, Team Mystic, Team Valor, it doesn’t matter. We are all on Team Humanbeing! Camaraderie is hard to come by now a days. There aren’t many places where a kid can learn the importance of working as a team to achieve a goal (besides sports, or group projects, or any other extra-circular activity.)

By visiting a PokéGym, my son and I have made friends, learned new skills, and burned some calories. Where else can one go to achieve all those things? Well, besides an actual gym.

Pokémon Go, not only gives me the instrument needed to show my son what it takes to achieve victory, it also shows my son that there is no “I” in victory (Okay, so there is an “I” in victory, but there is no “me” in team. There is definitely a “me” in team. My kid can learn how to spell in school.)

He’s learning about hard work and perseveranceIMG_2016-07-10-16152786.png
In today’s America, where every kid gets a trophy, and our liberal communist teachers claim that children are all equals, it’s important that I teach my son that in the real world people are divided into two categories; winners and losers. Losers go through life expecting everything to be handed to them, purchasing shortcuts to get ahead, or going to “college.”

In the real world (and in the Pokémon world) it takes commitment and sacrifice to achieve your dreams. When the losers are getting their useless 8 hours of sleep, or studying for that big exam, the winners are out at 3am searching for nocturnal Pokémon (because some Pokémon only come out at night). When faced with the problem of not having  a large body of water near them, the winners travel 100 miles to the nearest lake to catch their Squirtle.  Is your job taking up too much of you Pokémon/family time? Then ask yourself, what is more important, getting a pay check or spending time with your Pokémon/family.

In conclusion, if you are like me and have a hard time fathering, you really should try Pokémon Go. Not only will you spend more time with your kids, it also teaches them teamwork and sportsmanship, while also separating them from the non-Pokémon playing losers.

Or you can just put all the electronic distraction away, and just spend time with your kids. It’s actually pretty rewarding.