When I first started playing LOTRO, my kid’s ages were 10, 8, 6 and 4 years. In those days, they had a fairly strict bedtime of 8:00 in order to maximize both their sleep time and my wife and I’s sanity. Thanks to this rule, I was able to put off playing video games until afterwards. It was convenient for me to be able to completely separate video game time from family time, as I was very cognizant of the fact that my kids were growing up quickly, and I didn’t want to be distracted from spending quality time with them, especially for something as trivial as my own personal entertainment.
I’ve not been doing much gaming lately, as the family and I are on vacation in the north lakes. We stay with my parents at their summer place, and this year my sister also made the trip with her family. It’s been one big weeklong family get-together! Typically, though, we take one day to go off on our own, just myself, Mrs. Brax and the kids, and do something besides the normal fishing, swimming, and eating that normally comprises our vacation days.
Father’s Day was this past weekend, and I’ve only recently become aware over the past ten years or so how tricky these types of family holidays have become. In the “good old days”, I used to find a suitable greeting card for my parents, and possibly try and do something nice for them (like pick up my room) in order to show my gratitude and love towards them. That was pretty much as complicated as it got. Then came social media, and it became an even greater expression of appreciation to share your feelings towards your loved ones with your entire sphere of influence and beyond.
I was listening to the Burton and Scrooge podcast the other day, when host Roger Edwards said something that made me pause and reflect upon my own behavior. Near the closing of the show, he noted how, at a recent movie theater visit, many small children were present at a film that was obviously not appropriate for a young audience. As I was nodding along and heartily agreeing about how parents should be more cautious about exposing their children to some of these images and messages, it struck me that I am guilty of this very thing with my own kids. This train of thought has brought me to a familiar conclusion: parenting is tough! It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do, and sometimes I fail miserably.