I saw a meme the other day that, while I'm sure it came from a nice place, I believe completely missed the mark. It was a photo of a father assisting his younger son with a motorcycle, with the caption "No one remembers that time you all played video games." Now, after spoken with several fathers, I can tell you that this is not the case. I even asked my son if he remembered playing video games with me, and after roughly 20 minutes of listening, the answer was emphatically yes. I believe that as fathers, we overcomplicate everything.
It's not what we do with our children that they remember; it's that we were there at all. We're doing something our kids enjoy, and we're teaching them that their interests matter to us. It also brings up the ability to tell them things we always want to say but never have the opportunity to do so. For example, when my oldest asked if I enjoyed Minecraft, I was able to tell him no, but I do enjoy playing with you. He may not grasp it right now, but I want him to understand it eventually.
Anything you do with your kids can be turned into an experience. You can tell a story using video games, Legos, wrestling, and, yes, motorcycles. It makes no difference how cool the thing is; what counts is that you were there and accomplished it together. It is the quality time you spend with your children that is most important. It's not so much what you did as it is that you did it together. I've been able to use video games to help my children grow in a variety of ways, and we've been able to do so together.
We've spent a lot of time as a family playing video games, and I believe it's done wonders for our family and how close we all are. So, pick something that your children are interested in and participate in it. You don't have to spend a lot of money or come up with something wild; most of the time, you just have to spend time. If you're looking for family-friendly games, Fortnight is a great choice, as is Ultimate Chicken Horse.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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