Laura and I have had this recurring discussion about Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero for the longest time. Her conscience is more sensitive than mine to the songs in these kinds of games. I am not about letting my kids play Slayer or Megadeth, but I love the genre of music games so I wanted one of them. Laura could have lived her whole life without it and has been worried that it exposes the kids to music we wouldn’t let them listen to.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the major video game chains had the Guitar Hero band kit (with the drums, guitar, and mic) for $90. That was half price, so I finally got my way. We agreed to go through the songs as a family, and to agree as a couple on which songs the kids could play. Since Laura’s conscience is more sensitive, she gets final say.
Well the kids had two songs they could start with: Beat It and Eye of the Tiger. Nothing like bringing out the 80’s! 🙂 We have been playing through them in career mode, and decided that many of them are not okay for our family content-wise. Others can be okay with instruments if the volume is low enough to keep the lyrics at bay.
Last night, though, I got to finally see the potential of this game. James came home from kenpo camp, so after a great dinner we fired up the Wii for some GH:WT time. We switched off playing the drums, guitar, and mic for over an hour for sure. I love the new nuance in this game that has a “beginner” difficulty. That let Sarah and Abby play too! So all six of us took turns. It was a fun night of gaming as a family, giving high fives and encouraging one another in our pursuit of five stars for “Sweet Home Alabama.” (I rocked the lyrics to that one!!)
What a great time playing as a family. We had fun, laughing and joking and pretending that we were a rock and roll band.* It was a fun night of victories, as well as discussions about what is okay and what is not in our entertainment choices. We did something as a family more involved than watch TV! Okay, it wasn’t like we studied Obadiah together or something, but we thanked God for it nonetheless in our family prayers last night.
So where did I see God in all of this? Well let’s just say that I needed the laughs a lot. I had had about 72 really tough pastoral hours, with 2 families deciding to leave our church (without any discussion with me, of course…) and a company demanding our church pay them for their mistake and threatening legal action if we didn’t. I had asked the Lord to give me some sense of His pleasure, and he did so through the smile of a 10-year-old boy and the look of success in a little girl’s eyes who just finished a song on the guitar (with her mama helping!).
No, all my problems didn’t evaporate. There has been more struggle, and the problems didn’t go away because of a video game. Life is not so simple. But it started me on the path to getting over myself and that was a great reminder today as I thought about it of how blessed I am by Him.
So go find something to do with your loved ones today. It might not look like the epitome of growing in Christ together, but sometimes God works on our hearts just by making us laugh together.
*I SOOO wanted to link the Shel Silverstein poem “If we were a rock ‘n roll band” here, but for the life of me I couldn’t find it on the intertubes…props to the person who finds it for me!!