This is an opinion piece by Tali Lindberg, a mother, co-founder of Free Market Kids and host of “Orange Hatter: Bitcoin Podcast For Busy Women”.
Generally, Bitcoin meetups are of two types: “BitDevs” and “plebs”. In the former, coders come together to discuss technical developments in the Bitcoin ecosystem, and the discussions are fraught with jargon and complex concepts. In the latter, Bitcoin enthusiasts come together to discuss current events in the Bitcoin space and offer beginner-friendly workshops. During our travels, my husband Scott and I have attended many meetings of both types.
Yet, recently, we found ourselves in an encounter that turned the typical rulebook upside down. Allow me to take you on a journey through this evening and perhaps inspire your own Bitcoin groups to do something similar.
“It’s going to be different!”
When Scott and I stopped at a hangout in Winchester, Virginia, we were greeted by two laughing little girls at the door. They pointed at us, waved at us, then went inside. Scott and I smiled and thought, “This is going to be different!”
Upon entering a few moments later, we were once again greeted by something unusual. There was a cacophony of drumbeats and loud notes struck on a small grand piano at the front of the room, opposite the entrance. The same two girls who waved at us at the door excitedly announced, “We’re doing a concert!”
Both were laughing and squirming in their seats, their heads bobbing from side to side to the beat of their own music.
He explained that several families had RSVPed for family game night and, despite the rain, he hoped we would have a good turnout. As we chatted and waited for the guests to arrive, one of the 5 year old girls grabbed both of my hands and pulled me to the front of the room where she danced and pirouetted on her tiptoes , hands above his head, forming an arc.
“Come on, follow me! You can do it!” her little voice encouraged me. The other little girl banged on the piano as an impromptu accompanist.
The first family to arrive came with a baby and a 3-year-old child. The baby was immediately snatched from mum’s arms by a family friend who cooed and bounced the baby as the adults waved to each other. The baby’s older brother approached the little girls who had stopped playing by then and all three shared an instant understanding of a secret game and ran away.
One by one, other families arrived. More children. More noise. More laughs. And we hadn’t even started playing games yet!
“I wish these were real bitcoins!”
When the pizzas were delivered and we were all seated, I looked around and realized there were more kids than adults at this bitcoin meetup. Their ages ranged across the childhood spectrum: from wide-eyed 1 year old to mature 17 years old.
We set up two game tables. I didn’t know how it would work as some of the kids were so young. At my table, the ages of the children ranged from 5 to 9 years old. I explained how to perform “HODL UP” in the best possible way to such a young audience. Fortunately, there were two parents willing to help explain the game to their children. The younger ones didn’t last long. Very soon they got tired of listening to the rules and asked to be excused. My table was left with two adults and three children aged 7-9. At Scott’s table, the kids were 13 and up.
The game started and the children quickly understood the concepts. After just a few hands, they knew that putting their bitcoin in cold storage was the only way to protect their income. They played with good humor and reacted with exuberant exclamations and disappointments when they won or lost their bitcoin.
The boy who sat next to me repeatedly said, “I wish it were real bitcoins!” pointing to the stacked chips on his wallet card. Isn’t that what every bitcoiner hopes to hear from their kids: that they want to HODL real bitcoin?!
At the other table, where older children were playing with several adults, wins and losses elicited even stronger responses! Their game lasted longer, as each player intended to win and took their time evaluating strategies.
When the two games were over, all the children dispersed. The older children pulled out their phones, the younger ones left the table to run around the room and the baby had been passed to another family friend who was lying on the floor holding the baby above his head in a Superman pose.
The adults, who learned the game’s mechanics and strategies from the first game, jumped into a new game, determined to HODL even more bitcoins on their second attempt.
Looking at the scene around me felt like I had stepped into a heartwarming Hallmark movie. What made this evening truly extraordinary was the inclusivity. The families stayed together, chaotic as they were. The children were not asked to sit quietly or be sent to another room. Bitcoin, in all its complexity, has been demystified through simple play in the most natural and family-friendly setting. There were no harsh lectures about how bad our fiat system is, how the government prints money, or how volatile the bitcoin exchange rate is.
A simple but crucial solution for everyone that night was to secure their bitcoin in cold storage. No lectures, just a fun night where even the youngest players learned the most critical lessons.
Bitcoin is for everyone
Back from Virginia, Scott and I had a fun family event at the park with our bitcoin meetup, the Kentuckiana Bitcoin Club. Instead of having our meeting in a pub, restaurant or office, we chose to have it in a local park where there is a playground and volleyball court. While the setting made it a bit difficult to hear a wonderful Zoom presentation on Bolt 12, it was great for families of Bitcoiners to come together. The kids were walking back and forth from the playground to the table where the adults were sitting, and that was fine. Children learn by osmosis. Our job is always to plant the seeds. Who knows how the seeds will be watered and how long it will take to germinate? We just know that our job is to plant seeds, especially with children.
So what’s the takeaway here? How can your Bitcoin meetup involve your families? Instead of the meeting taking mom/dad a few hours a week or a month, what if the whole family was involved? What if the spouses met and the children played together?
I’m not saying that all bitcoin meetings involve the whole family. There is certainly a place for technical debates and topical discussions, but perhaps once in a while (once a quarter or twice a year) the families can get together. After all, Bitcoin is for everyone. We need to scatter and plant seeds everywhere, starting in our own homes, with our own families.
This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.