Revealing Personalities

It’s always interesting to me to see the little ways that the kids display their unique personalities. Recently I noticed them coming through on Tap Fish, a game I have on my iPod. The game is a virtual aquarium and I allowed each of the kids to have their own tank. Because I don’t allow them to play the game anytime they want, and because the fish in the tanks will dies if neglected for too long (two full days according to the documentation), I make a habit of going in every day to feed their fish, just in case they won’t get an opportunity soon. Other than my basic maintenance I don’t do anything with the kids’ tanks, they each have complete control of what they put in the tank in the way of fish and tank decorations.

At first I limited what they could buy so that no one child would use up all the virtual money at the expense of the others but once I built up a sizable reserve of coins I dropped that restriction and it has been interesting to see each tank take on it’s own character according to the person who owned it.

Please note that I would not presume to read much into looking at the tanks if I did not get to see the other aspects of each child’s life as well.

Without being familiar with the game you would not know by looking at it that Savannah chooses a large portion of her fish based on their profitability. She learned from me which fish make the most money and she always keeps many of them in stock. She doesn’t do this to be selfish, she does it because the likes to emulate adult behavior and I have one tank of my own which is used exclusively to grow the most profitable fish available (that’s how I built up enough coin reserves to allow the kids absolute freedom with their tanks). Savannah has also learned the dangers of not feeding her fish. The game only works when I have an Internet connection so when we go camping we can’t care for our fish. Once we left home for what I thought would be a short enough trip that the fish would live but when we got home almost all the fish had died in each of our tanks. Savannah now keeps a food brick in her tank. This has to be purchased with coins, unlike regular fish food which is free, but a food brick will keep the fish alive for at least a week (depending on which size she buys).

Savannah’s tank also shows her propensity to collect things. The collection is very eclectic to the rest of us (the only part of her collection that I understand is that most of the items make her fish happier and consequently more profitable) but once something grabs her attention she collects it. Once collected there is no rhyme or reason to where she places it in the tank.

Alyssa’s tank shows her artistic streak. While the plants in her tank make her fish happier I doubt Alyssa really cares about that. She cares to make her tank beautiful so the background and the placement of each item are chosen very carefully.

Alyssa tends to keep a limited variety of fish in her tank at any one time (I suspect that is also subconsciously for artistic reasons) and she tends to prefer ocean creatures.

Mariah does not care for decorations. Her fastidious personality demands simplicity although, like Alyssa, she chooses her background carefully. That is her one decoration and she enjoys changing the background regularly. She chooses her fish purely based on which ones are pretty to her. Like the background, the fish she stocks tends to change fairly often which is why she does not stock much in the way of ocean creatures which tend to take weeks to mature rather than hours or days.

Carefree little Isaac loves to browse the stores and just buy anything that catches his attention. His interest in specific things is often short lived but he’s not discerning in what he buys. When coins were tight he had a habit of buying expensive creatures that matured slowly and then selling them long before they were profitable. He finds things, like the elephant and the eagle, that I did not even know existed in the game. Generally speaking it would be perfectly fine with him if I went through his tank and randomly sold things behind his back (I don’t but I know I could).

Isaac’s personality shows up not only in what his tank looks like, but also which tank he has. At first he had the last tank (we went in age order) but then he would get on the game when I wasn’t looking and start selling my fish. I learned to keep my fish out of the first tank until they were ready to sell and eventually I just let him have that first tank for his own while I adopted his old tank.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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