Last year, we all experienced what news media would consider a 'black swan' event. Something that nobody could have seen coming. COVID-19 has been a challenge for so many of us, but few have experienced the level of change to their social-fabric than our children. After they were quarantined, my kids couldn't see their friends; they couldn't socialize with their tabletop gaming group, or even attend school. They were sitting around at home, mostly bored, and trying their best to learn online education platforms that were equally as unwieldy to their teachers.
In March – as we were essentially being told to confine ourselves to our house – I decided to buy three consoles, one for myself and one each for my two, teenage sons: Sebastian (15) and Daniel (13). We played a plethora of games together, focusing on titles that they'd heard a lot about like Fortnite, before branching off to experiment with Dauntless (Sebastian wasn't a fan) and Salt and Sanctuary (both of my children adored that game).
Shortly thereafter, I realized that Destiny 2 represented a great opportunity. I had played Destiny as a younger man and loved both the gunplay and role-playing elements and thought that a looter-shooter could be a perfect bridge between us. Sebastian loves shooters (Fortnite, Overwatch, and Halo), whereas Daniel looked for more…sophisticated gameplay (Dauntless, Terraria, and Minecraft).
I truly can't describe what a delight playing Destiny with my children has been. Joyous, perhaps? Exhilarating, almost certainly. It's changed so much of our relationship. The way we talk to each other, foremost. Our early days of exploring end-game content like Leviathan, which requires teamwork for oftentimes complex mechanics, forced us to communicate better. My son, Daniel, required only a short verbal explanation with a few pointed questions to understand. My son, Sebastian; however, needed to be physically walked through each mechanic before catching-on. In short, I discovered that Daniel was an auditory learner, while Sebastian a kinesthetic. I honestly didn't know either fact about my own children. Now, when I need to explain anything to them – Destiny related or not – I tailor my message appropriately.
I wish you could've seen their faces when we first cleared Leviathan. I wish I would've recorded their exuberant screaming as they watched Calus' robotic frame explode with light, crumpling under the combined might of our fireteam. They threw down their headsets, sprinted to my room, and we all had a group-hug, smiling ear-to-ear. In a world of quarantines, social distancing, school shutdowns and whatever else: this was something they could control. It was perhaps evidence to them that adversity could still be overcome. It wasn't simply Calus' doppelganger over whom they had been victorious, but their unease as well.
Nowadays, they're experimenting with Grandmaster Nightfalls and clearing Deep Stone Crypt on a weekly basis. The evenings, after dinner and homework, they lovingly refer to as 'Destiny Time'. And no matter what happens next – whatever craziness lies beyond the horizon – they'll be ready.
I've watched their confidence skyrocket. They've become more self-assured. Blossoming friendships between them and other Destiny players have followed, and Sebastian – my goofy, self-effacing loner – has started leading raid groups. When confronted by a challenge, they say things like: "I beat Crown of Sorrow. I can do anything!" Suddenly, everyday problems don't seem so complex. 'Improvise, adapt and overcome' has become their mantra.
Yesterday, Sebastian – a self-admittedly poor student – brought me a report card with a wide, triumphant smile and said: “Nothing but A’s and B’s, Dad!” He’s never gotten a report card without a ‘C’ or below. Ever.
And we have a name for people who routinely beat the odds…
They're called Guardians.
It doesn't matter who you were before you woke up outside the Cosmodrome. It doesn't matter what you thought you could or couldn't do. It doesn't matter whether you were scared, lonely or unsure of yourself. A Guardian does not dwell on the past.
You’re a Lightbearer now. A time traveler, Godslayer, Kingbreaker and Iron Lord.
Sure, you've fallen once or twice. Yet even lightless, bereft of the Traveler's gifts, you rose again.
Is that not the source of a Guardian’s strength? Not your ability to wield the Light, but rather to be reborn. To use mistakes as opportunities for growth. Your failures are never permanent. You literally live and learn.
You’ve battled Nightmares and wielded Darkness from the methane oceans of Titan to the frozen tundra of Europa’s shores.
You are unstoppable.
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© Post "A Random Positive Message for You" for game Destiny 2.
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