Level Up?

Maple Story Character

I got an email from one of my sons today. Doug is serving on a mission for our church in Eugene, Oregon. I thought I’d share part of his letter.

I know that the missionaries here think I know a lot about plants from what I learned from Mom. I can name a lot of berries and other plants, because I have firsthand experience with them. Believe it or not, working on the land was more fun to me than playing computer games ever was (and I know perfectly well how fun they can be), mostly because playing computer games never gave me real life knowledge or real life skills that I can use for the rest of my life. For example, in an RPG style game, you basically try to develop your character making them the best you can. How much cooler is it when you develop your own character? When you inrease your own attributes and increase your skill level? Yes it takes a little more work than pushing a few buttons on the keyboard, and it is relaxing, but nowhere near as fulfilling, or lasting. If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.”

I’d never thought of it that way, but Doug makes perfect sense. Look how much care people put into developing their virtual characters. Make them stronger, better armor, potions, wisdom, speed etc. Addicting. But what if we put that same focus on developing our own personal characters. No you can’t build up your strenth with a few die rolls nor develop talents through random numbers floating through cyberspace. But the cool thing is that it isn’t left up to chance. You have control.

Want to be stronger, healthier? Push yourself away from the computer and get some exercise, eat good food.

Want to learn to write? Start a blog and get some practice. Read.

Want to improve your woodworking skill? get out the hammer and nails, make something.

You want to be a kinder person? Say something nice to everyone you meet, all day. Genuine words, not say something nice to get something in return.

Take the level up challenge. Whatever it is you’d like to do to improve your character, just do it! Time, effort, sweat and tears, but you’ll make it. Feels good.

7 thoughts on “Level Up?

  1. Very Nice Letter Heidi from your son..He’s totally right that computer games never gave real life knowledge or real life skills that can use for the rest of our life. I’m just hoping teens nowadays will think like your son..

    Lorren Taylor

  2. “If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.” What an awesome statement! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I’m going to share this with some teens I know! 🙂 My son’s a gamer, but also a Scout. Scouting teaches him a lot of those real world skills while letting him hang out with other kids who are into video games. Best of both worlds, sometimes.

  4. Great thoughts . My kids could do with reading this but it needs to be done subtly. They do play sports but need to play more even though they are young teens now as play develops the mind.

  5. Heidi,

    You have instilled values and love of God in your children. That is the highest achievement any mom can attain.

    Doug is way ahead to recognize what’s really life-giving and fulfilling.

  6. “If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.”

    WOW! And it’s so true. Most people never take the time to think of how they live in those terms. It is definitely food for thought.

    That’s a treasured email—knowing your son has really been paying attention to the values you have instilled in him. We, as parents, want that for our children.

  7. Thanks all! Treasured email for sure. @Holly and @Kieran I believe you are right, sports and scouting do much for building character. Was he went away to college and so many kids were spending so much time planning games, it was easy to get hooked on it. Not against games, just when it becomes a lifestyle instead of doing something which benefits you and others. Doug has his Eagle and swam on the school’s swim team.

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