Family Picture June 2011

Family Picture June 2011
(L-R, B-F) Beth, Jess, Hunter, Merrill, Jane, Shelley, Elise (not real names)

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Come, Mothers,

A plea...Who will stand between our young men and video games? To what end were they created? And by whom? How much money in a family budget is put toward this vast entertainment venue? And then, how much time, precious time, is spent toward it, and what, in its place, is lost?

We have already taken away from all our children the agrarian lifestyle. We have removed from them their being needed for our families to survive. We have taken away from them skills honed from caring for animals and property. We have taken away from them the benefits of a classical education and stuck them into a "conveyor belt" style learning environment. This, in turn, has taken them away much of the time from their families. And worse, we have taken away from them examples, in ourselves, of true lifelong learning.

I have two boys. One of them, I admit, struggles more with the notion of video games. He despises work for work's sake, reading for the sake of enjoyment and learning, and gets bored easily. My other son can play alone and keep himself busy with all kinds of projects, is willing to do his chores happily, and never asks me if he can play on the computer. Incidentally we don't own a Wii or any other playstation, but we do have a computer, his only way to play games. My son who struggles with always wanting to play computer games will read, work or go to great lengths if what he is doing is earning him computer play time. Bribery goes against my grain in all ways, so I find myself just saying "no." No whatever. No more.

My sister, while serving as Relief Society President in her ward, knew personally 3 young men who came home from the MTC because they could not stand the rigors of early rising and study there. They came home, more specifically, because they missed playing their games, and were bored.

Video games, I contest, ARE addictive. The effects on the minds of young men are somewhat visible in my generation, in a rising problem in fathers who become addicted to "gaming," along with the time consumed by many adults in social media such as Facebook.  

But the true and far-reaching effects of video games is yet to be seen. Games for our children are more addictive with their levels, 3-d real look, subject matters and interactive abilities. My sons' friends don't like to come to my house to play because we "have nothing to do" here. They ask no less than 10 times in an hour to play on the computer. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. They leave and when I say no video games over there, they grunt and sigh and throw a fit. Or worse, my son goes against my wishes. 

I talk to their friends' mothers. I explain that I prefer that my kids don't play video games. Some are supportive, others are not.

Mothers, if not us, then who? Who will stand between our sons and this plague of their minds, desires, and perspective? Someday, a sweet young lady is going to fall in love with my son. I can already feel her pain if he wants to game instead of be with her and his children. I can see so many consequences, spiraling down through the generations, if my son is not equipped to be a man. 

Mothers, please. Stand with me. Do you have the courage to get rid of your games and take the ensuing battle and rage that will follow, and hold your ground? Do you think that I am eccentric? Do you not see the signs in your sons that I see in mine? Can you not look down the road and see that the first step down this road leads to the end of this road, and where that place is? Do you think it isn't that big of a deal? 
Can you not see that even if they are not addicted, what is lost in the money and the time that could be spent elsewhere, and much greater things gained?

We are not a video game family. We have better things to do. This is what my sons will hear as often as they ask. I hope someday they will thank me.


  1. That's a tough one. We are a video game family. I have no desire to game. It doesn't interest me at all, but everyone else in this family LOVES them. We have chosen to treat them as a treat though. They only play video games when friends are over, along with doing other things. They get to play them on Christmas break. We have time limits and plenty of rules with games.

    I don't know what the real answer is. For growing up in a household of No TV and No sugar, I sure watched a whole lot of TV and ate a lot of sugar. If I didn't get it at home, that's all I wanted to do at other peoples homes. I would sneak it whenever my parents were away. If my parents were gone for the day I would walk to the store stock up on sugar and come home and watch TV all day. I never wanted to be at home when my parents were there and my friends never wanted to be there either.

    I really don't know the answer. I would like to say that I am teaching my children self-discipline and moderation, but I can guarantee you that if I let them, they would play all day everyday and I don't know when they would stop. Good all of us.

  2. I wish I had the perfect answer.

    I agree with you. Video games are addictive and a waste of time. But so are a lot of things in life. It is up to us to teach/train our children about moderation in all things. Not just completely banning them from everything that may addict them. That could backfire on you when they get older. Each child is different and will struggle with different things in life.

    I also like to think from a child's perspective. Just telling them "you'll thank me later" is not fair to their immature mind. I think that will breed embarrassment (in front of their friends) and resentment towards you. Especially when it is something like video games (as opposed to the obvious no nos that are worth every fighting bone in your body.)

    I think in order to get rid of games in your own house (which I agree with) you need to replace them with something your kids will enjoy even more than gaming. They can earn a certain privilege (that they choose) by not asking for/playing video games. Then they are happy and not resentful.

    I personally don't agree with banning them even when they go to friend's houses. Limiting. Absolutely. Encouraging them to pick friends that do things other than play video games. Yes. Yes. Yes. Intervening when necessary. Yes.

    We all need as much help and support as we can get!

  3. Even though it sounded that way, I have never banned video games. I have for short periods of time, when necessary. I have requested at certain times that they don't play video games at their friend's house (intervened), because sometimes, when the weather is nice and they haven't even tried to do something else, I cringe to think they will go spend the next 3 hours at their friend's house staring blankly at a screen.

    I do allow them to play on late nights with friends or sleepovers with cousins or during play dates sometimes, too. But I limit the time and places. I have never told them or expected them to understand they will thank me later, I just hope they will.

    In general, we are not a computer/video game family. It is nice when they can find friends who do other things, or play less than others. But I am still surprised how much and how often many of their friends do play. It's all the conversation between the boys who carpool with us home from school.

    I just understand that someone or something has to regulate and be the moderator because without us mothers, who else will do this job? I just never expected to have to wear that hat along with all the others ;)And it was a tiring week last week. As usual, this week has been better.



Beth (who is trying to overcome the habit of re-arranging her underwear): Mom? Why doesn't Jane pick her butt?

Jane: (adamantly) I DO!