One day, my son looks up at me and says “Dad, I want to meditate too!”
How did my son get an interest in meditation? Through my example and having acquired a taste of meditation, the benefits of meditation had resonated. So, he asked for help.
Given his experience with games and exposure to Gamification, my son loves to “level up” in whatever he does. For those who don’t know, leveling up is achieving a related series of measurable goals and giving that achievement a name. It’s best done as part of a fun or adventurous narrative.
Unless made quite fun, being still and focusing on ones breath for any period of time can be torture for a child. It was time to cook up an appealing solution.
Combining his love of Minecraft, his desire to achieve, and the idea of “leveling up”, I made the following achievement levels for my little player:
- Level 1 – Bow and Arrow – One understands the initial thoughts about meditation
- Level 2 – Wooden Sword – Meditated one time
- Level 3 – Stone Sword – Meditated for any amount of time 3 days in a row
- Level 4 – Iron Sword – Meditated 5 days in a row. Diamond Sword level requirements were secret and are revealed at this time.
- Level 5 – Diamond Sword – Number of days in a row required to meditate: 1 + (6 sided dice roll) for a chance to win the diamond sword. (In this case, 5 days since he rolled a 4.)
To get the diamond sword, he rolls a 6 sided dice after 5 days and he has a 1 in 6 chance of winning. If he doesn’t win, he does another 5 days but he will have a 2 / 6 chance of winning. If he doesn’t win, another 5 days go by and he’ll have a 3 / 6 chance of winning and so on.
Figuring out this Diamond Sword level required me to reach out to the wonderful Gamification Hub community for ideas. Which brought up some good questions such as “Is any of this tangible? Is this a Minecraft modification to the game?”
Simply, he does not receive anything tangible. There is no Minecraft game modification created for him. He simply knows what level he is at with respect to meditation. Although getting a sword is all in his mind, he’s quite happy knowing that he has achieved a certain level of recognized status.
Has meditation and this approach helped? Yes, it has helped. No matter where he is, it provides an escape hatch where he can reflect on what’s going on. In the long run, meditation yields a better brain. So, he is experiencing short term wins and also long term gains.
How long will such an approach last? For him, it lasted about two to three months. When someone pointed out that they don’t need levels, he declared he doesn’t need levels either. Yet, yesterday he was concerned that he lost some levels since he hasn’t meditated in awhile. Through future technology such as the Muse headband, I think meditation could be made more real to him. Until then, we can make the intangible tangible through a Mindful Minecraft Meditation.
Authors note: The term “Unofficial” is used here in this post in order to comply with the Mojang brand guidelines.