“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal
March 1, 2012
It isn’t about winning and losing.
I have a child who comes home from school each day, tackles his homework (always homework first!), and then it’s straight to the computer or the Wii for an afternoon of video games. Within a half-hour, I can hear his anguished cries of defeat and near, so very near, expletives.
It’s an addiction, the video games. I can see the sweat beading on his forehead when he’s away from it too long, the trembling in his thumbs. On Saturday mornings, he’s the first one up and standing in front of the television playing whatever his current obsession might be. These days, it’s one featuring an elf who may or may not be riding on a seahorse and wielding a large butter knife. I’m awakened by the vocal frustrations of his losing a round to a gnome riding a starfish, or something.
The blips and bright lights of this simulated world are all too real for him, the losses far too personal, and this is an issue.
So we stick with the tried-and-true mantra — it isn’t about winning or losing; it’s about enjoying the challenge itself. This, of course, falls on deaf ears, or ears too stimulated by the bells and whistles of the game.
I know of what I speak. I should admit to you that I’ve stopped writing this column no fewer than three times to check on the seven different games of “Words With Friends” that I have going at the moment. I’m happy to say that I’m winning five of them. This makes for a good afternoon regardless of what we, as parents, insist … (read more)