January 20 2016

Principal’s Message Jan. 20, 16

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10

Currently my children are in Australia having an extended holiday and its always hard to be away from them, especially for an extended time. However, before they left I made sure that I could still be a part of their lives by setting up a regular time to Skype with them each day. The problem with this, however, was that they often did not have too much to talk about. Sure they have been enjoying visiting friends and family, and they love telling me about that, but they are still relatively young and I found our conversations were becoming shorter as we had less and less to talk about.

Rather than give up I thought about how we would normally spend time together at home. We do not often sit down and have conversations without doing something else so I decided it would be good if we could do something together while we Skyped. That way the conversations could happen more naturally and we could have joint experiences similar to those we enjoy when we are physically in the same location.

There has been a lot of research over the last few years on the benefits of playing computer games with your children. Research in the area has consistently shown that playing video games with your children has a positive impact on their development and has positive long-term family outcomes. Professor Mary Lou Fulton states that “often parents don’t understand that many video games are meant to be shared and can teach young people about science, literacy and problem solving. Gaming with their children also offers parents countless ways to insert their own ‘teaching moment.’”

With this in mind I set Saturday afternoon last week aside to play computer games with my children. Thanks to an array of online portals, it is very easy for people in two different countries to play a computer game together at the same time while also talking. I ended up playing for over 2.5 hours with them and had much better conversations with them than we would have if we had simply Skyped. There is something about doing things together that encourages children to open up and talk more than if you simply sit them down and try to talk.

Of course, you do not need to be in a different country to play computer games with your child. Its even better if you can be in the same room as them. The great thing is, if you want to play games with your child, you can guarantee that they are already experts and will teach you how to play, and show you what you need to do. On the weekend my daughter chose the game we played, she guided me through how to log into a re-mote server, and instructed me in how to play the game properly. Similarly, if you ask your children what to do, I’m sure that they will be very happy to take on the role of teacher and instruct you in what you should do. Just be warned—it can be very humbling to lose a computer game to a 6 year old!