Making New Friends Who Only Speak Minecraft (Lake Bohinj)

One of the questions that I get asked often about pulling my boys out of school is….”but what about friends? don’t they need friends”

Why yes, they do need friends. But their friends are not restricted to those who are of the same age (as is the case with most school friends)……nor are they restricted to the same common language.

Here’s a good example. When we were at Lake Bled, we stayed with a family who had two children and neither of them speak english. But guess what? We took them out to Lake Boninj and they somehow managed to play together and work together to build a small bridge using just large rocks. After that, we went back to the apartment and the children sat and found a way to link up their computers to play Minecraft……and they did all this without any common language! The best part…….was that they were having so much fun……they laughed together, they argued (yes, apparently you can have an argument without a common language…..that was super entertaining to watch!) and most importantly, they worked together!

How did that happen? I believe that language is 60% verbal (and this is where a common language helps) and 40% non-verbal. With these 4 children, they have swapped the ratio around to be more dependent on non-verbal communication which seems to be quite universal (e.g.. shrugging of the shoulders, smiling, nodding heads etc). And guess what they used during their verbal communications? Minecraft jargons! Yes, I have no idea how they discovered that they all like Minecraft in the first place but they were using Minecraft words to describe how they wanted to build the bridge and I could hear phrases like ‘lets mine that limestone’ and ‘I really need to get a pix axe!’ in their conversations.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed watching children get passed cultural/ethnic/belief differences and even language barriers……to put all their differences aside, so that they could have some good old fun. To me, this is the true meaning of communication and building relationships, where groups of people find something that they have in common (and in this case, it was their love for Minecraft) to work towards a common goal.

Here’s what I learnt…….that children will find a way to play together when we leave them them to it……


My boys and their new found Slovenian friends at Lake Bohinj.

Here’s one of the children working together to build a bridge out of large rocks and stones. There was a lot of communicating to get this right but they managed to even without a common language. They were using a lot of sign language and body language.

This is the completed ‘rock bridge’ that took all 4 children nearly 2 hours to build.

Foong Kwin Tan

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