From Across the Net – “Three Cautions and Encouragements for Dads”

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Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

The “plan dragon” is one of those I’ve had to battle for years. Thankful for God’s grace and how we grow, as parents, as our children grow.

When I was setting up our new family tent, a big part of my frustration sparked because I had plans and my daughter interrupted them. Most of our anger and annoyance happens when our plan (or our kingdom) becomes threatened or disturbed.

The very people we’re trying to serve and love become the problem in our eyes. They ruin our plan—even if that plan is to make memories with them—so we get angry.

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Fear, Geek Culture, and the Church

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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Michael Mendis, writing for Geeks Under Grace, recently wrote a piece titled “Geek Culture and the Church“. As he weaves through the history between the church and geek culture, he touches on something I have always found interesting:

Over the years I have heard numerous stories about Christian geeks who feel that they have to hide their hobbies from fellow saints. I’ve met a well-respected leader in a church who can’t reveal to the rest of his leadership team that he plays Dungeons & Dragons. A gaming missionary I have worked with tells a story about how he once visited a church to talk about gamer culture, and after his presentation, two people came up to him—back-to-back, but independently of one another—to privately confide that they were gamers, and that they were afraid to tell the other people in their church.

On a basic level, I get that we can’t 100% be ourselves at church. Fellow Christians may struggle with things that we do not, making it un-wise to talk about whatever it is in front of them. I get that. But playing video games, to me, is just as normal as watching television or following sports. In all my time, living in the buckle of the Bible Belt for over sixteen years now, I have never felt like I needed to hide the fact that I enjoy playing video games and tabletop games (and I get that my experience may be unique).

I remember approaching my pastor, soon after college graduation, about how I wanted to start a video game ministry. He encouraged me to talk to our youth pastor; who then encouraged me to think outside the box and not go to seminary. “Just do it”, he said like a Nike commercial (it was deeper than that). I’d like to think that my experience here isn’t unique, I was encouraged by my East Texas based church staff, not discouraged from where I felt God leading me in that moment.

As I edge closer to 40, I have learned to not be as worried about others opinions, to enjoy what I like. I have found that there are others out there, in the church, who share my hobbies. I want to encourage you not to live in fear. Be passionate about what you are passionate about. Own your video games, your hunting, and your love for modifying old cars.

Update 5/23/19 – My wife lovingly reminded me that I have encountered instances, at church, where fellow Christians have been less than loving about my hobby. Funny how one forgets such things when not in the moment. As with anything, I think you quickly learn who you can talk to and who you should avoid talking to about nerdy things. Such is life. – Bryan

Bad Parenting: How To Not Play Rocket League With Your 6-Year-Old

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Imagine radio controlled cars, with rockets, playing a game of soccer. Good ball control is key and takes much skill and time to develop.

Wyatt and I played a lot of Rocket League. Then I noticed how I started talking to him. We weren’t doing well in the match we were playing. I felt like I was playing alone versus actually playing with a teammate against two bots. Now this is not Wyatt’s fault, Rocket League is a fun/simple game with deep deep mechanics. But I found that the words coming out of my mouth were not uplifting, in fact, my words were angry and annoyed. Wyatt’s body language was defensive, I was about to lose him. So I had to mentally check myself:

– I am an adult.

– I am playing a game with my son. He is six years old.

– Why am I acting this way?

After a few talks with my wife, I decided that I would make more of an effort to use encouraging words. To try and let go of my competitive spirit and just have fun. And so we did.

Ever since then, I have tried to speak words of life, versus death. This is not easy. But parenting isn’t easy either.

Super Mario Bros. Wii is another game we play together. A game I have had serious issues with in the past, due to how anger-inducing the co-op experience can be. But you know what? We laughed. Wyatt giggled over causing me to die, many times. We had fun.

Win or lose, playing games with your children is awesome. As a dad, the key is realizing that playing a videogame is another teachable moment. Model the words you want to spoken during competitive play. Encourage teamwork. Embrace defeat. Together, we can do this.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” – James 1:19