We were all born to create. And sometimes, the fuel for our creative mind may not even be noticed until years later, until new beginnings remind us of who we are all over again. More and more, my twin boys remind me of who I was before and during elementary school, where I went to a wonderful place of learning called Swastika Public School in the small town of Swastika, Ontario.
Every kid got to be Staypuff Marshmallow Man ... in the colour scheme of their (parents’) choice. So, everyone played hockey, or froze. But there was much more than hockey, otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a story, now, would it?
This probably sounds quite silly now, but put yourself in 8-year-old-you’s shoes. Wasn’t it just that much more fun to run and jump around when there was an exciting reason to do so?
We were all made to create – and I really do hope you are doing some creating too, no matter how close or far you are now from where you grew up. Because no matter what we tell ourselves about who we think we are, our past selves are always a part of us. So whenever I’m in a creative rut, I try to remember why I’m doing this in the first place.
How about you? Where did you grow up, and how did it inspire you to your calling? Tell me about what you love most and why it’s a part of your creative life.
Stratos Lead Designer, from Swastika, Ontario, Canada
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Having twins is wonderful – but it is sometimes like a Die Hard movie. They run over smaller toys with ride-on dump trucks, know professional wrestling moves innately, and love to crash cars into airplanes.
Yet I could not resist their ever-so-nice and cute smiles asking to play board games on the shelf. And when Zechariah was jumping up-and-down in excitement for “Daddy’s game” (Stratos), with Elijah ready to climb the bookshelf for it, well, I gave in.
Fortunately, they love to help and to build things for people. Both have such generous spirits, and it melts my heart every time I see them sharing and helping each other when they might otherwise be painting the walls with spaghetti sauce. Or fighting/arguing over who is, in fact, Batman (conclusion: they are both Batman).
You thought this was going to be about more crashes and explosions, didn’t you? Me too.
I am continually fascinated by how much board games can have a calming effect on my twin tornadoes. Here it gets Zechariah counting the pieces and telling me about them, and Elijah telling me stories about the dragon and the owls in the spooky forest, echoing some of his favourite bedtime stories.
It’s a joy to be a father of boys, who are as into games as deeply I am; I guess I’m not surprised. Like father like son as they say. This is why I try to set a strong example of hard work mixed with creativity and humour. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Even if it has a boom crash piece.
For reference, one of their other favourite activities is running around naked wearing buckets on their heads. Those pictures may be saved for future wedding days. We’ll see.
So try introducing board games with your kids. Watch as they fall into a new world and observe theirs expand. It may result in random nakedness, yelling fits, and lots of Lego pieces underfoot, but I would not trade any of this for anything in the world.
Thanks for reading,
Jacob Chodoriwsky | Lead Designer, Stratos
Jacob Chodoriwsky is the lead designer of Stratos and CEO/Co-Founder of Board and Tale Games Inc. He lives in Hamilton, ON with his wife Rebecca and twin sons Zechariah and Elijah.