Many kids today are lost in destructive video games. Their friends are avatars. They spend less time relating to others and develop fewer skills to do so. Many become isolated, especially from the family unit, and deftly block parents from their world. That isolation can lead to depression and destructive behavior. A father and mother are disarmed—unable to bond with their kids—helpless to guide them during those precious years.
At a recent ACFW workshop, the gal next to me asked about my novel. Her level of interest and insight caught me off guard. “Don’t you realize you’ve hit on a hot social issue in the family today?” she said. When I betrayed my ignorance, she proceeded to explain and even wrote key points on scraps of paper. Turns out, I was talking to Pamela Binnings Ewen and didn’t recognize her. She’s sharp.
She went on to tell me that my novel demonstrates an alternative game—a unique method of family bonding. Because situations and values are acted out at a story level, they are readily accepted. Story is a powerful tool. Jesus used it again and again.
In the novel, the roles are reversed. At age 12, with an IQ of 180 and a touch of autism, the game is Nate’s favorite way to communicate with other people. He plays it for fun and writes transcripts to keep his opponents current with the story. He hooks his father into it—a man that doesn’t know how to engage his more-intelligent son in conversation and longs to do so.
Could you hook your son or daughter into such a game? It’s both interactive and portable. Lessons are experienced and problems solved through human interplay. It’s unpredictable and that makes it addictive and exciting. I’ve described the simple rules in a previous post and will repeat them here:
1.) Once an action is put into the game, it cannot be taken out. The result is a developing story line, which is entirely unpredictable.
2.) A player functions through the eyes of his character and that character must be present in the scene. As a result, the player identifies strongly with his character.
3.) Players take turns and advanced preparation is discouraged. As a result, it’s difficult for one player to control the story line.
Are you ever trapped alone with your son or daughter, say in a car during heavy traffic? Seems like a great opportunity.
I invite you to comment.