Spending time with my son

September 17th, 2007  Email Email  Print Print  

Saturday was a day I got to spend with my son Daniel.  When I say I got to spend the day with him, I mean the whole day!  My wife, Michelle, and our youngest son, Michael, were at Mom’n’Me Cub Scout camp so it was a chance for Daniel and I to do what he wanted to do.  If you know him very well, you’ll probably know right away what he wanted to do – play World of Warcraft with me.  And that’s exactly what we did, for over 12 hours :-) and it was terrific.

About six months ago, Michelle was picking Daniel up from his best friend Jordan Hays’ house and ended up spending some time talking with Jordan’s mom, Christine, about various things about the boys.  One of the things that Christine and Jordan had been doing together for some time is play World of Warcraft, a massively multi-use online game where players create a character and then build up their character’s skills through quests and battle.

We’re always on the lookout for ways to connect with our kids, and when Michelle saw that Christine was playing, she saw this as an opportunity for not just me but for her to connect with our boys as well.  World of Warcraft, or WoW for short, has the added benefit of being a game that Daniel could connect with Jordan and other friends with.

We spent some time thinking through the pros and cons of the game and about game playing in general.

Pros:
  • He can connect with his friend since they would have a significant common interest.
  • We can connect with him.
  • He can learn good problem solving and cooperation skills.
  • It’s a computer game – what kid (especially boy) doesn’t like computer games :-) .
Cons:
  • It costs $15 per month per account.
  • It’s a computer game (meaning it’s not playing outside).
  • There are some characters and character traits that either directly or indirectly reference demons or demonic activity.
  • Female characters have an exaggerated physique – ’nuff said.
  • Like any computer game, particularly online ones, it can become consuming.

You might look at the list of cons and think, isn’t that enough to nix the whole idea?  No, I don’t think so.  I believe there are healthy ways for kids to play in environments like this.  We let both our boys play and we have seen both boys do and learn some really great things.  Most of those have had to do with sharing, personal interaction with each other and other players, obedience, kindness, wait, this is starting to sound like the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They have had the opportunity to exhibit just about every one of them.

When we first started, we decided to get two accounts and that Michelle and Michael would share one and Daniel and I would share the other.  This would allow me to play with Michael and for Michelle to play with Daniel.  It soon became clear that we were going to have to get another account so that one of us could play with both boys.  Daniel got his own account and Michael uses Michelle’s.  We charge them each $10 each month for the privilege of playing.

It also became clear that Michelle wasn’t as interested in playing as she thought.  I spent a couple days where I played a LOT, but now I play only once in a while.  The boys are always asking me to play with them, which I see as a good sign – I’m thrilled they want to spend time with me.

It’s also something that can be used as leverage to get them to do their chores or their homework.  I don’t know why, but there are times when I get a certain kind of glee when I find things that I can use to discipline my kids :-D .  It must be a parent thing.

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