Mini Van Feed: Parenting Mythbusters Style

These days I feel more like a lawyer than a parent. Van challenges me to present facts about why we should be doing this or that on a daily basis. As I am sure is the case with most children, there is one pervasive argument going on, that I have been dying to squash: Video Games vs Reading. To me there is a clear benefit to one over the other, but to him, video games = way more fun and exciting. Even though I know I am the parent, and can declare anything for no apparent reason, I am finding myself enjoying taking on these proof perfect challenges.

Enter Mythbusters. Van and I LOVE Mythbusters, the TV show. If you haven’t seen, it is awesome.

Hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage — and co-hosted by Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara — the MYTHBUSTERS mix scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create their own signature style of explosive experimentation.

In each episode, the Mythbusters team tests folkloric myths using science and usually explosives. Some examples include: Can you make a boat completely out of duct tape? Can a sonic shock wave shatter glass? Is it possible for bullets to bend around obstacles with a side arm flick of the wrist? Can match heads alone fire a homemade cannon? Can a 7-foot ball of Legos become a rolling weapon of mass destruction? etc. etc.

We like Adam Savage more, but we like Jamie.  Grant Imahara is the real hero here, because he is the person that controlled R2-D2 in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

So recently, when the daily question of video games vs reading came up, I decided to squash it once and for all and prove to Van that he, himself, actually enjoyed reading more than video games by using a scientific method.

We would do a test case, like they do in Mythbusters. First, I would watch him play video games for half an hour and write down how many times he laughed. Then we would read, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” to see how many times he would laugh during reading. This test was a tad loaded on my part, because I know that Van laughs hysterically while reading DWK.

We created a table to make it more official and ran the tests. There was no laughter during the video game. There were 5 laughter outbreaks during the reading. I showed him the table and he got it. I wish I could have bottled the look on his face. Table is now on fridge, for every time I get hassled about reading.

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4 responses to “Mini Van Feed: Parenting Mythbusters Style

  1. I’m impressed at your scientific approach to what is usually considered to be more of an “emotional” decision. Well played. Question is, as smart as we know the kid to be, how did he not manipulate the results with some manufactured laughs during video-game time?

  2. Nano,

    Great job! My parents just invoked the power of fiat – it is because we say it is. Now, go read.

    I think you’ve also provided a lot of insight into marketing processes for defining product features – which features the customer will prefer. You’ll like it this way – trust us.

    ; )

  3. Nano,

    Brilliant, just brilliant…

    Now, in true honor of MB’s style you should of blown the Video Games at the end with a ton of explosives…

  4. You are the best mom EVER. I am taking notes and planning on modeling my style on yours.

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