Kids spell love “T-I-M-E,” and this crisis season brings unexpected time to interact with your family in ways you haven’t in the past and may not have again in this quantity. I’m a reluctant gamer, but I suggest that all dads become players.
Why games? You can argue that quality time trumps quantity time, and while that is true, you don’t know when those quality moments will come. Trying to manufacture them often falls flat. The truth is that a quality moment is created through quantity, and games are a great way to get to know, appreciate, and engage your kids.
Get down on their level.
Invest in floor time. As they get older, it will get more complex, but meet them where they are. Apply this to sports too. Parents get frustrated when their kids can’t execute on the level they want. They just don’t have the skills and capabilities yet, and that is not what’s important. Remember… this is supposed to be fun for them.
Be intentional with character development.
As dads, we need to execute life with purpose. What can you teach your kids in each experience? Don’t just wander through. How can you share truth, and how can you be the spiritual leader in your household even through game time with the kids?
Teach valuable life lessons.
Kids need to learn to win with grace and to lose with humility and dignity. The full experience of life includes wins and losses, and they need to develop character through both.
Kids need to learn to play fair, follow rules, and be compliant.
Teach them this spiritual truth that the Lord gives us guidelines, and if we step outside His boundaries of behavior that honors Him, the consequences get dangerous. We can’t change the rules when we think it will be to our advantage. It won’t be. Patrick Morley, author of Man in the Mirror, describes that as trying to get comfortable with God so we can change the rules. “God made man in His image, and then man returned the favor.” We don’t get to define God’s rules. Eventually, we will stand before a holy, righteous God, and deviation from His standards equals trouble.
Teach them strategy.
You better have a strategy in life to be competitive, win, think ahead, plan the next step, and set up for the future. It’s not always about knowing the perfect strategy, but it’s about intentionality. We don’t just go where the dice rolls take us, we need to plan and maneuver in order to reject passivity and accept responsibility.
Share your passions with them.
Introduce them to your interests. Give them an opportunity to love what you love, but be careful not to burn them out. Honor your kids, and bring them along at their pace, without pressure to perform. If your passion is video gaming, keep it in check. Enjoy playing, but model setting boundaries on time and intensity. Set the pace for your family on keeping it in bounds.
Join in kids’ passions.
Take the time to slow down to understand what they like and bend to meet them there. So maybe it’s not your wheelhouse – but it’s worth it. Our family created memories of Stacy playing “army man” with the boys, and I’ve resorted to wearing plastic earrings and a tiara for a good cause – playing Pretty, Pretty Princess with Hannah. We used what they enjoyed to create to teach them life lessons, skills, and unforgettable memories.
Learn to understand how God created your children.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This “way he should go” is not just about taking them to church. It’s about understanding God’s wiring in your child. Even in games, you have the opportunity to get to know them better, affirm their skills and strengths, understand the way they think, and encourage them.
Laugh much, love much, learn much.
In playing silly games, you’ll laugh a lot. In laughing you will love, and as you laugh and love you’ll learn much about your kids, and they’ll learn about you. They’ll grow to appreciate the fact that you invest time in them.
You get to be on mission with God the Father in shaping molding changing the spiritual nature of your children and pointing them to Christ. Don’t waste those moments. So be a playa. Have fun as a family. Recognize even in that, you can point them to Christ. Don’t waste any opportunities to teach Spiritual truths and life lessons to your kids. You were made in the image of your Father God, and He doesn’t waste any experience in our lives to teach, shape, mold, and conform us to the image of His Son.
Here are some game ideas to get you started:
- Board Games: Checkers/ Chess, Life, Candyland, Hi-Ho Cherry-O
- Silly Games: Telestrations
- Active Games: Twister
- Outdoor/Sports: Badminton, Volleyball, Basketball
- Word Games: Scrabble, Bananagrams, Apples to Apples, Pictionary
- Card Games: Uno, Rummy, Phase 10, Strategy Games, Board Games, Monopoly
- Video Games
View the full list of favorite games from the 1 Quick Question survey here.
Mother’s Day is May 10
Follow The Noble Man Podcast as we talk about how the Noble Man reacts and engages with the women in his life.
Participate in the 1 Quick Question survey by asking the women in your life, what is the best Mother’s Day gift they’ve ever received.