Video Games – I Want My Child to Be Happy
I recently read a story about two divorcing parents. Both Mom and Dad were quoted as saying that all they wanted was for their son to be happy. Their son convinced them that he was happy—as long as he played video games sixteen hours a day and gained vast amounts of weight (fifty pounds so far) as a result.
Now, I can’t argue with the fact that most parents want their children to be happy. But I would like to add that certain other qualities are just as important, if not more important, than childhood happiness, and parents should be promoting those traits, as well. How about the idea of developing a inner sense of pleasure (not a temporary feeling of fun) by nurturing attributes like self-control, time management, physical fitness, intellectual curiosity, and social interaction? Won’t these additional qualities add more depth, joy, and novelty to your child’s life, both in the moment and for the long run?
I suspect that “We just want our son to be happy” really means “We don’t want the hassle of drawn-out discord in our home.” But it is through discord, challenge, and disappointment that children cultivate character and become honorable adults. Character builds confidence, and confidence that is based on something concrete inspires genuine hope for the future and personal happiness for a lifetime.
Child rearing is not easy. It is relentless—when it is carried out with sincerity and commitment. Let’s not take our eyes off of the ball here, parents. Playing video games sixteen hours a day may make your adult life run more smoothly, but will it really make your child a happier camper? I think not.
Nesta Aharoni, Character Building Counts Book Awards, www.CBCAwards.com