May 19, 2021

Entering In

By Barry Rudesill

You probably don’t know this, but I am a Gamer…well, not really. I DO have a “gaming laptop”...which I bought it to edit videos for Trek 2.0. I also have a gaming console...which my wife bought me. I also have a small library of games...most of which I bought for my kids. (Does playing Euchre on my phone make me a Gamer? If so, then I’m a pro!)

So I suppose it’s more fair to say, “I have the POTENTIAL to be a Gamer!” I have the tools, I have the resources, I have the materials, but most days I’d rather snuggle with my puppies on the couch and read an actual, physical book...made of paper!

But each year, I get the “gaming bug” and, after doing a bunch of large updates, I settle in to play! Being ADHD, that means that I’m able to focus on an average game for about an hour before I start doing “dumb” things. This, needless to say, is NOT something my kids appreciate. (“Wow! I didn’t know I could destroy your robot! Wow! Look! It happened again! I wonder how many times that will keep happening?”)

The reason I play games each year is not because I want to play the games...I usually don’t. However, my children DO like games and I love my children. Because of that, I enjoy spending time trying to understand their world; to enter into their experiences in whatever way I can.

In the beginning, it was board games. My children loved to play some of the famous board games, especially those that last for 23,082 hours as you try to build hotels on your properties! Sorry, copyright probably prevents me from naming the game...also my ADHD personality considers that game a “Critical Event” and I’ve spent years trying to block the memory of rolling dice again and again. Did you know that you can cheat at that game and little children don’t notice? (“Wow! You’ve bankrupted me in only one hour! That is amazing! What shall we do with the rest of”)

After that, we went to card games. There was a card shop nearby that sold “used” cards cheap, and so we have enough strange-looking animal cards that we could wallpaper our whole house in them. Those matches usually lasted 15 minutes, so I could sit through multiple rounds without needing to cheat to lose! Then, my daughter was given a super-pack by her friends that had all of the rarest cards and not only did I NOT need to cheat to lose, the matches started lasting around five minutes! (“Wow! You drew Super-Pixelated-Earth-Monster and all of it’s power-ups! One hit did 80 billion points of damage, and I only have...12 health points! You win!”)

Now, it’s video games. And, although I’ve found some that I actually enjoy playing, I’ve come to realize something else: I enjoy spending time with my children far more than the game! As our robots are trying to solve puzzles, I can ask them about their day, what’s new, and talk about life, in general. They can ask for advice on issues in their world, we can talk about choices, and we can discuss the future...and I have these opportunities because I sit down and try to enter in to their world…

In your world, is there someone you want to build a better relationship with? How about finding something that is important to them and then “enter in”? Clear time in your schedule, sit down with them, and try to participate in something they love to do! Go browse cars at a local car lot, listen to a different kind of music, or even learn to knit!

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it; what matters is that you made the effort! In fact, I think some of the better conversations I’ve had with my children came in those moments when I really was quite bad; when they could laugh at me for my mistakes and I could laugh with them. (Despite their best advice, after a month of knitting I had only created what one woman called, “A skirt for a doll!” But we had some great conversations about life as we worked!)

In the next month, find someone who is important to you, someone you want to strengthen your relationship with, and intentionally make the time to “enter in”. You may be surprised at what you learn! And you may even discover a new hobby in the process!

As always, we hope you enjoy your journey!

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