Let me put out some disclaimers out there before I go on… Yes, this is a study done by Microsoft who has a stake in making video games look good. Yes, this is an article from a British news site. My point in bringing up this article isn’t to agree or disagree with the findings.
With all that being said, the article talks about how most parents think that video games, including online gaming, is something that can be beneficial. They do express concerns, though about the safety of their children. Most children in the study want their parents to check out the games they play and want their parents to interact with them.
What stood out to me in the study was that, although most parents did not check out the games themselves, they wanted to but just didn’t feel equipped to do so or have time to do so. (OK, I might’ve read into the study a little.) What the parents were looking for was help. Most want a resource to let them know about what games are out there and popular and how to interact with their kids about it. They want to be involved in their kids’ lives.
Now, beyond providing resources for parents about video games out there, what is something else that we, as ministers to children and families, can take away from this? What do studies like this tell us about parents? What does it tell us about their desire to be involved in their children’s lives? What does it tell us about their desire to guide and teach and shape their children?
Study after study about parents and children show us that parents want to interact with their children on how to make choices and have right beliefs. Why is it, then, that most of the church continues to beat parents up? Why do we say things like there is more of a parental delinquency than child delinquency? Why do we applaud when leaders say that the reason children aren’t connecting to God in such a way that they don’t walk away from God later in life is because parents abdicate their responsibility to be “the primary spiritual teacher” to their children?
Maybe it’s because it makes us feel better? Maybe it’s because we want to blame someone rather than try and engage and work together as a church community to help children develop an environment where children learn and know who God is, how much God loves them, how they can best follow God to have the most amazing life, and how they can change the world around them as they choose to follow God?
Most parents want our help. Yes, there are those we can all point to as the exception, but over and over we see that MOST parents want our help… and by “our” I’m not just talking about children’s ministers… I’m talking about each church community.
I could go on… and you thought this was going to be a simple post about video games and families…
What do you think about the negativity that has grown around parents from those of us in the church? Do you agree that it exists? Maybe, I’m overstating my bias? What are you doing to engage families? What are you doing to help the church community be a part of engaging families? I have some thoughts, but I’d like to hear from you all.