pic of video games

Time on our Hands

WARNING: You may encounter considerable satire here…

With the shutting down of the known world due to the media overreaction to the corona virus you have lots of time on your hands. Your school is considering changes in the Spring Break schedule, events in your calendar will now be postponed or cancelled and you can’t turn on the television to watch the Final Four or any game leading up to that conclusion. No College World Series, no NBA, no concert venues and no visits to great-grandma in the nursing home. We certainly have more time on our hands.

In the author’s own words…

I’m personally tired of the double standard that has shut down our world and devastated our economy. This is not how the swine flu was handled 11 years ago when thousands had died before serious action was taken. The media couldn’t say enough about the effective job of this President’s predecessor and can’t say enough bad things about our current situation. I will not be spending time listening to the constant chicken little song on the television and radio. Neither will I be exposing my children to the horrors being spread faster than the virus over the airwaves by network and cable news.

So, what can my children do? They could stick their noses into their internet games for days on end. At least they would have interaction with outsiders under safe conditions. If you are thinking of trying to find alternatives to the online game virus, you are wise. There has to be a more constructive way to pass the time.

My first suggestion is something out of doors. Spring has exploded outside in colors we only see once a year. There’s no danger of infection among the grass, the clover and the trees. The flowers make a beautiful backdrop for anything. You’ll need an idea for how to get the game controller out of their hands. It will take several steps and maybe even a ride in the car before you can see the outdoor extravaganza. Try a trip to McDonalds or Sonic. Offer to go and get a coke or ice cream cone. Then, pull the car over at a park and tell them you need to walk off the calories. It’s sneaky but their controller is at home, right?

My second suggestion is to use the electronic device in their hand as a phone. There is a reason we used to call these devices “phones;” that was their primary use before they became game machines. The people who are at greater risk are trapped in a media prison with only bad news to watch. They were already lonely and now all visitors are stopped at the door. Regular phone calls would be a welcome interruption to the latest report on how low the sky has fallen.

Phone conversations aren’t like in-person conversations. Unless they can Face Time with you it will only be voices in the air. Try making a short list of topics you can tell these imprisoned loved ones about. What were you studying in school last week? What were you and your friends doing together? How was that walk in the park while you finished your ice cream cone? How many colors did you see? After you share for a few minutes, be sure to ask some questions. What is your favorite Spring color? Who was your last visitor? What did you think about the game (oh, wait; they cancelled the game!)?

When you’ve tried everything else, pull out your vintage deck of cards or board game. I think it is unfortunate that they are known as bored games. It gives your children leverage in the argument that this isn’t a good idea at all. Once the dice start rolling and they get some properties bought, they might just lose themselves in the game.

Get your kids to cooperate by asking them to try some things they haven’t done before. Nothing has to last forever but everything has to be tried. It might be a long time before life gets back to normal again.

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