Dear Mr. Man…

February 24, 2009

Wii are Family!

Filed under: Family,Parenting — P. J. Easter @ 10:07 am
Tags: ,

wii-are-family

Image courtesy of: www.gadget.co.za

Q: Dear Mr. Man.

My children spend too much time playing video games. What can I do to get back our family time?

A: There are obvious answers that you are probably already familiar with. Find activities in which to get them involved (such as service projects, participate at the YMCA, or simply going outside to throw around the pigskin). There are many things that you can  (and should) do to pull them away from the video games when they are played in excess. However, this will not be the focus of this post. Instead, let’s follow the old adage, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

About a week before Christmas I fractured my ankle in four places (another story for another day). I was stuck in the house and going absolutely bananas because I am accustomed to staying fairly active. I wasn’t able to exercise or go cycling (which is one of my favorite pastimes). My two kids were out of school and doing what kids do. My wife, Adi, was very supportive by making sure that I was well taken care of.  She has gone through enough “man-colds” (I did not coin this phrase, but ladies, you know what I mean) with me to know what to do. Nonetheless, it seemed as though my family was spread apart and everyone was doing their own thing.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. Among the myriad of gifts that my children received from aunts, uncles, Nana, Grandma and Paw Paw, was a Nintendo Wii. Boy,were they excited!

“Dad, can we pleeeese go hook it up right now?”, asked my son, JC.  “Dad! Can we? Huh?” I didn’t respond immediately because I wanted to continue to build upon his anticipation.  My daughter and oldest child, Bae, was more restrained. However, I could see from the excitement in her eyes and smile that she wanted me to do the same. One look from Daddy’s Little Girl moved me from my comfy chair.

As I hobbled down the stairs behind my wife, I’m thinking to myself that hopefully this will not encourage the children to spend all of their time on this thing. I begin to formulate the ground rules in my mind.

I get the Wii set up and we watch the kids play the first few games of Mario Karts and Wii Sports. Looks like fun. We take turns playing and spend the morning together. We are having a blast! I  realized that we need more game controllers (we only had two). We are driving on the walls and falling into Mushroom Pits. We are evading giant penguins and hitting homeruns. We are really enjoying this time…TOGETHER.  This was my last thought before the pain medication begins to do its thing. Night-night, Gracie.

December 26th. Adi gets two more controllers. YES! It’s on!

Fast forward to present. Since Christmas, we regularly have a family night on the Wii. We have bowling tournaments, tennis matches, race car driving, and team baseball. When everyone goes to bed, I get my cardio excersise by boxing and using the Wii Fit. Or I will wind down by playing a round of golf and enjoying the beautiful digital scenery. All of this with a broken ankle.

This is not to suggest that the Wii could (or should) replace taking the family to the park or playing outside with your kids.  No video game comes close to God’s playground. However, if you find that your family is separated within the four walls of your abode, this is yet another choice that enables parents to come into their kids’ world and spend more time together.

Man up…

Mr. Man

February 22, 2009

Train Up A Child…

Filed under: Parenting — P. J. Easter @ 8:28 pm
Tags: ,

 

father_and_son

Image courtesy of www.chromasia.com

Q: Dear Mr. Man,

Why have my children become increasingly disrespectful lately?

A: I decided to check out a new Sunday School class today. I am usually serving in another capacity at my church, but now have some free time during the last service. The class is in the middle of a session on parenting. We were watching a video that showed an eleven-year old boy being extremely disrespectful to his mother. Here is an example of the dialogue:

“Mom, I’m gonna go to Aaron’s house to play Xbox.”

“Sorry Jason. We agreed that you would finish your project before dinner today”

“I can finish it after dinner, Mom. I’m gonna go.”

“No, Jason. A deal is a deal. I’m sorry, but you can’t go.”

“Man, you’re stupid, Mom. I hate these stupid rules!”

It gets worse. Check out Mom’s response:

“Jason, I will not allow you to talk to me that way. What you said was very mean and it hurt my feelings. Why don’t you go to your room and think of a better way to respond to me?”

Do you think Jason went to his room? Probably not.

This video segment illicited a variety of responses from the parents in the class. Some parents agreed with the way the video mom handled the situations while other parents were thinking, “Oh hell to the NO!” (I admit, I was in the latter group).

What struck me more was this. Although the video was an exaggerated example to emphasize a point, there are parents who deal with this type of behavior every single day and do not know how to cope. Behavior such as this does not develop overnight. Children who are typically respectful do not become insolent little terrors overnight. This is behavior that has been learned and accepted. By the parent.

Think about it. We accept the “Terrible Twos” as simply a part of a child’s development. We think its cute when junior spits on his auntie or repeats a bad word that he picked up from television (or from you). As parents, training our children begins the moment they begin to comprehend. Proverbs 22:6 goes like this:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he grows old, he shall not depart from it (KJV).”

If we fail to train our children to honor, respect, and obey us as their parents; then we shall reap the fruits of our failure as well.

We all should ask ourselves to check the quality of the training we have given. If you have any doubt, then you’d better..

Man Up!

Mr. Man

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