My kids love playing Roblox on their iPads. But they can only play on the weekends and they have a 2hr time limit per day.


My kids love playing Roblox on their iPads. But they can only play on the weekends and they have a 2hr time limit per day. That’s a lot less time they want and my wife and I are in constant negotiations with them to extend their time limits.  So, recently, I gave them a new challenge. You want to spend more time on Roblox and even do something cool? How about learning to design and code your own games? They looovvvved the idea!

We’re in Week 2 and they are now using laptops, becoming comfortable with the Roblox Studio IDE (Roblox’ game building software), and they’re chipping away at learning the Lua programming language for game interactivity.

I thought the experience would be a steep learning curve but I was wrong. They “ditched” the concepts and “theory” that I tried to explain carefully and instead dove straight into the fun, learning by trial and error. With just a little guidance, and a whole lot of relentless persistence and hyperfocus, their young brains can seem to remember complex UI shortcuts and how to type entire code segments in an effortless way.

It has made me think about a couple of things.

We sometimes oversimplify things for the new generation, forgetting that with the right support and some thoughtful guidance/instruction they can learn at incredible speeds. Instead, we lower the entry barrier because it makes it easier for us to roll out a teaching process. But the slowdown drags out the learning process, diminishes the rewards, and often destroys the most important element of learning - the motivating factor. Of course, there are times when it is worth slowing things down in order to build a strong foundation but it doesn’t have to happen right away and it has to be balanced with reward in a dynamic way. It feels like we simply don’t have great mechanisms to do this at scale yet but at a smaller group level (family, friends, work team), we have more opportunities to do this better.

As adults, we have a harder time shutting off distractions when pursuing an idea we are passionate about. My kids easily ignored the non-relevant elements to deliver on their goal to build a game. But as adults, when we take first steps, we often begin questioning ourselves based on our experience, insecurities, and our appetite for risk-taking. Is my approach correct? Should I read a book first? Are we doing it wrong/is there a better way? What risks am I taking? What if I fail? Of course, some of these questions are critically important to answer but those are not the ones we always prioritize to answer first. We are as rational as our emotions afford us to be, and, ultimately, even though we know exactly how to succeed, we manage to drag ourselves through the more difficult and longer path. This also applies to groups of people with a common goal such as a team or organization.