My oldest son was stirring his Oreo milkshake, eating one methodical bite at a time at the local fast-food joint recently, when the conversation turned to his friends.
“I’d much rather spend time at his house than mine,” my son said, referencing a boy his age he had just visited. “Our house is boring.”
I could have been offended, but I wasn’t. Instead, I took a bite of my strawberry sundae and let the discussion progress naturally, free of any knee-jerk reactions.
“He has videos games,” he said. “We don’t.”
A thousand thoughts swirled in my head that went unsaid: We have a large yard. We have a basketball goal. We have a bicycle for every member of the family. We have a basement. We have a large television set. We have a Lego collection that would rival Legoland’s. Besides, what about those starving children in Africa who don’t have any toys?!
But I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I drove the discussion in a different direction: “If we had video games, what would you do less of that you do now?”
My son was stuck. If he answered truthfully – reading? playing outside? doing homework? – then he would be playing into my hands. Thus, we called it a truce, went home, and had a great game of hoops at our old “boring” home.
The Entertainment Software Association reported this year that exactly 50 percent of Americans own either a dedicated video game console or a handheld system.
My household, though, isn’t one of them. Even though we allow our children to play video games at other homes and we let them play the occasional iPhone game of Candy Crush, too, we don’t own a video game console. Perhaps that will change in a few years, but for now, we’re holding off.
Here are three reasons we’ve chosen to have a house free of video games: Continue reading