Pokémon Parenting


As I have watched the phenomenon of the latest video game sensation reach to ridiculous heights and consume my kids’ time, I have decided not to fight it. Instead of resenting Pokémon Go, I have resolved to learn from it. I’m asking questions like: “How do we get our church to be a Poké-stop?” “What do people love about this?” and “How can I use this to benefit my family?”

Because of my amazing Christian women mentors, I have learned to define my purpose and passionately pursue God’s dreams for my life. These days, our kids are passionately pursuing Pokémon. Let’s use Pokémon Go as a model for raising up the next generation of Jesus followers.

A stretch? Maybe. But shouldn’t we look at every opportunity to engage younger generations with cultural relevance? I see four main ways we can apply Pokémon Go to mentoring our children.

Pokémon’s strengths to emulate:

  1. The win is clearly defined.
  2. Steps are attainable, measurable, and addicting.
  3. It’s in community with others.
  4. It’s fun, so we are all in!

In our family, we have two overarching goals for raising/mentoring our kids: faith and launch. The most important thing is our kids’ personal relationship with God. Second only to that is their eventual launch from our home. We want them to independently pursue their dreams and have great relationships with others.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28).

Following the Pokémon method of mentoring, we can help our kids win while setting the family vision. The pre-requisite to any plan is prayer, so we start there. Then, as with Pokémon, we need to define where we’re going. I suggest selecting a guiding verse for your family to keep you pointed in the right direction. Our family chose Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Not married? Pick a verse to guide dating choices!)

Next, set attainable, measurable goals. Start with asking the hard questions like:

These questions will help define what you stand for, what your values are as a family. The answers will be the filter through which your family decisions are made. Wouldn’t it be awesome if achieving these goals could become as addicting as reaching the next level of the game?

The next way Pokémon speaks to mentoring the younger generation is about community. People don’t play the game in a vacuum. They get out in the world and share it with other people. Setting your family goals with community in mind will also help you to maintain an outside focus, instead of only focusing on your own needs. Healthy families love others and do life alongside others! Decide if you will do a service project as a family. Will you volunteer at church or in the community? Meeting the needs of people outside your family not only helps fulfill the great commission, but it also keeps our perspective right. (The antidote to feeling sorry for ourselves is the gratitude found when helping other people.)

The final concept we can borrow from Pokémon is fun. Families have a host of options that will make vision and goal setting a fun experience for everybody. How about making an i-movie to help you remember your family vision? Older kids will be all over a hashtag for social media. It’s fun to make a graphic or represent your verse artistically. Engaging kids in the process not only helps them learn and remember your family’s values, but it also fun! When kids are involved in the formation of the vision, they buy in big-time. When each member knows where we’re pointed, agrees with the vision, and has fun encouraging each other, our family is ALL IN.

Thank you, Pokémon Go, and my fabulous Christian women mentors, for reminding me we have great examples for raising independent believers. All we have to do is look around. Gotta catch ’em all!




Do you feel called to be a mentor? Are you looking for a mentor? The 4word Mentor Program is currently accepting applications for the upcoming fall session. Visit the Mentor Program website today and submit your online application by September 2, 2016!


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