The Benefits of a Messy Game Closet
Our Monopoly box is in tatters.
Only if you knew my husband and me very well would you understand how much that would bother us. Tim is a detail man who hates messes. I have snarky housekeeping tendencies which cause me a bit of stress when it comes to game pieces left under the couch or Hardy Boys books being re-shelved with Nancy Drew.
So when I see that the Monopoly box lid is coming apart in a big way, my blood pressure goes up TO THERE. For about 3 minutes. Until I remember the reason for that.
Later I ask my husband, "Did you see that the Monopoly box is broken now?" I try to make it a casual question, but he stops his studying, pushes his chair back from his desk, and eyes me carefully.
"Yes," he says. And then he sighs. "I noticed it a couple of days ago." At times it is a bit trying for two micro-managers to have 6 active children.
"But," he says, drawing out the word for about 5 seconds, "We can be thankful that they are playing games together."
I smile at him. We are on the same page.
This is the one of the benefits of a messy game closet: while many kids their age are playing video games or surfing the internet on their cell phones, ours are holed up in their bedroom for hours on end, conquering the world through Monopoly, Stratego, or Risk.
I am not completely opposed to computer games. My kids used to play them. They were even used as rewards for good behavior. In our house, we favored educational games like Oregon Trail and Brain Play. But sometime about two years ago I took them all away.
Thus, the Monopoly box is broken.
And, in spite of my snarky housekeeping tendencies, I am thrilled. Here's why:
Okay, so the whole "life skills of compromise and negotiation" thing is still in progress. But the political practices of Putin proves that these are things better learned when you are a child. So we will keep working at it.
And in the meanwhile, I am reminding myself to smile when I find Risk pieces under the table or the piano is piled high with music books or another game box needs to be taped. Because I am nurturing gifted children, not growing a crop of computer game addicts. I will pay the price.
I am a mom with a mission.
Are you scrutinizing your lifestyle choices for ways to redeem the time in the lives of your children? What difficult decisions have you made on their behalf?
8/2/2014 02:05:07 am
This is such a well-thought-through, effectively-communicated explanation of the type of choices that Christian parents need to make if they purpose to have their children make their own wise, God-pleasing choices in life. Childhood goes by so quickly and is filled with rich opportunities to develop skills - like reading,music, and personal interaction - that will allow these young adults to serve their God and reach out to others in a greater way. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you. Lay up for yourselves heavenly treasures . . . "
8/2/2014 02:06:33 am
Thank you for sharing your child rearing goals with us!
8/2/2014 02:08:10 am
Thank you for sharing your child rearing goals with the rest of us. Encouraging and inspirational!
8/2/2014 04:30:34 am
Excellent thoughts! My children are grown. When they were growing up we had a struggle with television . Whenever the viewing times got too long (myself included) I would put a towel over the TV for a few days up to a week. Both my children and I are readers and thinkers. My grown son does use the computer for games (too much in my opinion) but he monitors his usage. He switches to books when he feels he needs to. My daughter doesn't use the computer at all right now. I especially like your comment that computers are for work! I'm now in a "struggle" to get my grandson to see the benefits of other interests besides computer games. He doesn't like to read (I think it's hard for him) so I send him magazines to keep his interest up and I buy him a new board game every Christmas. He also has a pogo stick, stilts, unicycle, etc. His interests are now turning towards "girls". That is the next mountain to climb. With God's help it will all turn out. I'm praising God that both my children and grandson know the Lord. God bless you, your family, and your blog!
8/2/2014 11:41:30 am
I knew by the title of this article that I was going to love it. My sentiments *exactly.* Though my son is only 2yrs (and baby #2 due very soon) my husband and I have talked through this very issue. We are also working at building up a good supply of interactive games. And guess what---Candy Land is already getting worn out with just one child playing with dad and mom. And we love it that way! :)
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Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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