Sadly, most young men today fall in one of two opposite extremes:
There are those who idolize their work, finding their identity in their accomplishments. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead putting self before others.
Then there are those who are lazy and hate to work. They rely on their parents for financial help, while they pursue entertainment. King Solomon had this to say about work:
“He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,
but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding”
One Bible commentary says this about frivolity: “Energy expended in worthless pursuits and fantasies is as useless as outright laziness.”
Solomon was saying anyone who spends time on worthless pursuits and fantasies is ignorant. Does that remind you of anything? It makes me think of video games.
I know many young adult men who are ADDICTED TO VIDEO GAMES. Finding a sense of accomplishment when they “reach the next level,” their God-instilled propensity to work, and conquer, are somehow fed in a sort of pseudo-satisfaction.
Now please do not take that to mean you should jump up and throw out all of your son’s video games. That is not my point. The problem isn’t necessarily the video games themselves, but the use of them.
Anything done to an extreme can be addictive, so you want to use wisdom and discernment with regard to the amount of time your son plays video games and the type of games he is allowed to have. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what is and is not acceptable.
You can use your son’s access to video games as a tool to teach him how to monitor himself. It is wise create an environment for your son to fail while he is still living in your home, so he knows how to recover from his mistakes. So, try and allow certain freedoms so your son can learn to be self-disciplined, and self-motivated concerning how he spends his time.
Rather than removing all possible time-wasting temptations, use wholesome entertainment options as a way to train your son how to regulate the use of his time. My son-in-law works at a Christian college in California. Each year he watches incoming freshmen students struggle with overindulgence in playing video games. The students who struggle the most have had little or no exposure to video games or the internet while they were growing up. So, many fail miserably when they have no one looking over their shoulder as they step into even wholesome gaming. When you think about it, even wholesome entertainment requires discernment.
Training your son to discern what is right and best will be prepare him to govern himself when he is grown. When you talk to your son about video games, use your discussion to teach him how and why he should be in charge of his free time.
Let him know you’re not opposed to him playing video games, (unless you have a sincere conviction to remove all access of video games from your home). Explain to him, it is his management of time and the kinds of games he plays that you’re concerned about.
-How might your son respond if you assure him you understand how much he enjoys playing video games?
-What if you took the time to explain that gaming in itself is not wrong?
Once your son realizes you can relate to his desire to entertain himself with video games, you may have his ear when you carefully point out that feasting for hours on violence and excessive abuse of entertainment is inappropriate.
TEACH HIM TO THINK:
Taking his thought process further, give your son an opportunity to see how Satan could use video games, or other amusements, to squelch his incentive to accomplish good with his life.
As you instruct your son, remind him God has given you the position of authority over him. And because you want to help him grow mature and wise, you want him to see how some activities may hurt him later in life.
IT’S YOUR JOB:
It is your job as a parent to help him see those things as well–so he can learn to guard himself.
Beware of being too extreme. The all-or-nothing approach may seem easier at the moment, but it will not build your son’s ability to exercise discernment and keep watch over how he spends his time.
Remember, your son’s desire is to grow toward independence as a man, so appeal to the man he will be, rather than proclaim your authority to dictate over his choices.
Ultimately you and his father have the right to enforce regulations on the amount of time your son spends with video games. But consider teaching your son to think through the negative impact of time wasted on worthless pursuits, and involve him in that thought process.
After you’ve done that, maybe together you could come up with a reasonable amount of time for him to spend on video games.
Your goal is to make your son see that you are on his side, and that your desire is to help him become a man who does not squander his time and his talents on temporal pleasures.
When you train your son to self-discipline in this way, it will help him in every area of his life, and not just in matters of personal entertainment.*
*Excerpt Moms Raising Sons to Be Men