Like most American kids, our boys love video games. Video games are fun, entertaining, and sometimes even educational.
While Mr. Fantastic and I are fine with our kids playing video games at friends’ houses, and often have fun family nights at places like Main Event, we have chosen to put off buying a video game system for our home.
Initially, it came from a desire to get them reading. My husband grew up without video games in his house, and he voraciously read as a child. We knew that eliminating the distraction of more media (in addition to tv and movies, which we keep to a minimum as well) would help to make reading more appealing.
The reading plan worked, and our children spend hours each day reading. They read in the car, at the table, and in bed. They love books, and for that we are grateful.
But lately we have noticed other benefits to the choice we have made about media time.
Our children are experiencing a childhood full of wonder. They enter into worlds of imaginary play, invent games, make art, play all kinds of cards and games, and write stories.
Our children also are getting a good dose of delayed gratification. They know that someday video games will be in our home, but that we are waiting for a more opportune time.
Their childhood will not look the same as their adolescence. Growing up and maturing will mean an increase in privileges, like video games, iPods, and cell phones. The hope we have is that they will learn that waiting for good things makes the good things even better.
I realize that keeping gaming outside the home is not the only way to create a childhood filled with depth and wonder. I also know that delayed gratification can be taught in many, many ways.
But for us, this way is working.
There is a great deal of pressure to expose children to all sorts of media. Our kids feel it, and so do we. Really, no matter what types of boundaries you choose to place in your family, there will be people who think you are crazy, or too strict, or too loose with your rules.
But we live by faith. We build our homes and lives trusting the wisdom God has given us for today, knowing that the future is in His hands.
For us, that means playing Spoons and Dominoes and Slap Jack, reading books out loud to one another, having special movie nights, playing family football games in the yard, playing music together, and quiet nights with piles of books all around us.
That is who God has made us to be in this season. And we are loving it.
What choices and boundaries have you made in your family that you are grateful for?