Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's Summer, So Let Your Kids Play Unlimited...Video Games?!!!

This is not an anti gaming rant--I am not a hypocrite.
This is my kids at my doctor appointment where
I didn't want them to hear what we were discussing.
Good time for gaming with HEADPHONES.

Have you ever been so seriously disturbed by a TV commercial that it leaves you wanting to launch an anti campaign???  Me either.  Until last night.  Thank you Nintendo 2 DS for making me want to puke at the sight of all those kids absorbed in their hand held devices instead of PLAYING outside, PLAYING around the campfire, PLAYING on a camp out.  It's summer so let the kids glue their precious, little faces to the Nintendo 2 DS screen and MISS an entire summer of relationships, family time, friend time, adventure.  Sign me up right now!  (If you have been lucky enough to miss this commercial but would like to know what I'm talking about, here is one of several commercials they are currently running on TV.  Grab your puke bucket before viewing.)

This is not an anti video game rant.  If you know my family in real life, you would laugh at that.  We have more computers than people, my husband games, my kids game, they each have a Nintendo 3 DS, and we had a Nintendo Game Cube until it broke a few months ago.  My Hubby does computers for a job--he reads computer screens that look like gibberish and can make sense of them.  He can read thousands of lines of computer code and find "the bug" in the system.  He showed me his work one day when he had to do a system reload from home.  My eyes glazed over and I started dreaming about tackling Mount Laundry.  Ya.

I personally would rather stare at paint drying than play a video game, but I realize that for many people, gaming is enjoyable.  So I let my family have their game time while I enjoy the silence of my living room and read a book.  Because that's what I find fun.

So no, this is not a gaming rant.  While I personally do not game, I am not anti gaming.

This is a rant about missing life.  About equipping our children to miss life.  About taking precious memory making moments and stomping all over them.  About handing our children a tiny little screen to become absorbed in when there is an entire world to discover.  World!  Out there!  Look up!  It's about those few short years we all are given to get to know and fall in love with our kids, and rather than do that, we isolate ourselves in our own little pocket worlds.  Relationships?  Communication?  Overrated.

Build a fort in the woods

And no.  I do not think this is isolated to children.  I am well aware that this "pocket god" phenomena is a universal problem.  Which is why I held off on getting a smart phone for several years.  I did not want to become one of those people who were always checking their phones.  A year and a half ago, I gave in and got a smart phone.  Within a few weeks I was sucked in.

But God has been convicting me on that.  It started with my kids refusing to pose for pictures.  While I wanted to capture every moment forever, my kids were tired of me sticking my phone camper in their faces and saying, Smile!  Who can blame them after realizing I'd taken thousands of pictures of them in one year.  One YEAR!  Oh my.  I started leaving my phone behind when going on family outings so I wouldn't be tempted to take pictures.

Go climb a tree

Then God convicted me on my Facebook habit.  I was checking it all the time.  First I disabled my account for a week.  I went through withdrawal and nearly died.  But I made it an entire week without Facebook.  That helped me back off on it for a short while, but it didn't last.

Most recently God convicted me to just remove the Facebook app from my phone.  Four days ago it went poof.  I still use Facebook on my computer, but it's a lot more limited that way.  No more mindless Facebook reading when I should be focusing on something else--like my kids.  Or my Hubby.  Or the world around me.  Has it been difficult?  Yes.  I get an email notification that someone responded to something on Facebook and I click the email link to quickly respond only to realize I can't do it from my phone.  Oh right.  I have to get out my laptop to do that.  Oh well.  I'll do it later.  And interestingly, almost every quick response I would have made ceases to be necessary when it requires more work.

Road trip sans electronic devices

I'm not perfect at ditching my smart phone addiction, but I'm getting a lot better.  Because I want to focus on life.  On people.  On moments.  On memories.  On living.  On loving.  On cloud watching with my children.  On God.

And I want that for my kids.

Gaming and smart phones are not evil or wrong.  There is a time and a place for everything.  It's when they stop us from living life that they need to be set aside.  When they block us from building relationships that they should be turned off.  When a tiny screen becomes more important than running and playing and laughing and breathing that they should be left at home.  So go climb a tree.  Go build a fort in the woods.  Sit around the breakfast/lunch/dinner table and talk and laugh.  Linger.  Repeat.

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