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The secret of the cardboard arcade

What did the dad of Caine Monroy, the boy whose homemade games became a viral video, do to get such a great son? Summer camps? Tutors? Nah. He just let his boy be a kid.

April 21, 2012|Sandy Banks

His son, he points out, doesn't even call him Dad, but jefe, Spanish for boss. "Now people are calling me 'Father of the Year.' I don't know if they're joking or what."

It's nice to hear, and it's forced him to consider whether there's a winning formula to this.

He's obviously been a good role model. But he lets his children chart their own courses.

"Here's the whole thing about parents," he said. "They want to create their kid into what they want it to do. And they force upon them sports, books… This book is good for you, read it. Play T-ball. Play soccer.

"But he'll be so miserable on the soccer field if he doesn't want to play, you're wasting his time and your time too. You have to let the kid decide what he wants to do."

It's retro and counter-intuitive, in an era of Tiger Moms and competitive nursery schools.

But it's pretty basic to the man whose son is our current video icon of resourceful creativity:

Enjoy yourself. Spend time with your kids. And treat them like individuals, not widgets.

sandy.banks@latimes.com

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