Playing basketball on the new XBox!

Two decades ago, I enjoyed a variety of games. But when I retired from the military in 2011, I also left behind the gaming to dedicate my time to college and seminary. After thirteen years of study and earning two master’s degrees and a doctorate, I have decided to pick the controller back up!

But my return to gaming was intentional as I want to spend more time with my grandchildren!

You may be thinking that this is crazy and only children play games, but hear me out. My grandchildren know that their grandpa and grandma love them, but we also want them to know that their interests are important to us. We do our best to be at football, soccer, volleyball, and dance to cheer them on, but they have other interests beyond sports. Thus the decision to get back into gaming and what a great decision! Within this last year since returning to the table to play games, I have had amazing conversations with my grandchildren as we have increased our common interests. Those connections have only grown with the recent purchase of an XBox! We exchange cards, talk strategy, and look at new games we can all play across platforms. I can’t express the level of joy it is to receive a text message from a grandchild asking me to join them online for a game! Besides all the laughing over the headsets, we reaffirm our love for them in the game! We state how proud we are of them and how good that they are in the game! And when we are together, we have so much more to talk about in recalling previous games. Usually with a lot of laughter and joking!

The games also allow grandpa and grandma to naturally move the conversation to ethics and morals which are important in their childhood development today. We have had conversations on God’s love, love for one’s neighbor, what happens when people die outside of God’s forgiveness, and how we are to forgive one another. How amazing is that? Plus we encourage good sportsmanship with each game. Our family plays games for fun and it is okay to lose. For when we lose, and grandpa loses a lot with the new games out today, we are really winning!

Bottom line is not to be afraid to pick up a controller. Don’t let someone tell you that gaming is for children. Learn to appreciate the gaming interests of your grandchildren as Christian missionaries appreciate different cultures! Embrace the gaming culture. Have your grandchildren teach you how to play and be amazed at how well they can play! Stay connected and be amazed in how your relationship and conversations with them will grow!