My son loves computer and video games. He has a Gameboy Advance and he has a computer with a few games on it and he would spend every waking moment playing if we let him. The ones he loves the most are the "Need for Speed" games, as in "Need for Speed:Underground, Need for Speed:Underground II, Need for Speed:Most Wanted." You get the picture here.....and every time he mentions a game, the title must be said in full. What he doesn't realize is that they look the same to me and that I wouldn't know the difference if I was looking directly at the computer screen, but I won't disabuse him of the notion that I care about his video game playing.
Anyway, last week Nathan was having yet another conversation with Trevor about "Need for Speed: Most Wanted", and he said something that we both found disturbing. With a title that includes the words "most wanted" you can imagine what the gist of the game is. The player is basically running from the police. So Nathan says (very offhandedly) that it's cool to run cops off the road and to kill cops. I was horrified that a 6 year old (or anyone else) would say that, and I was more horrified that I had provided the avenue by which he had come to this conclusion. Trevor and I decided to take that particular game off of his computer, and to be more vigilant regarding the types of games we let him play.
We explained why we were taking the game away (police officers are our friends and we should never, ever run from them) and the more important theological issue was discussed as well. The bible clearly tells us that we should always be focused on those things that are edifying in some way. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8. Playing video games that glorify cop killing is not edifying by any stretch of the imagination. When I explained this to Nathan, he still wasn't entirely happy with his game being taken away but he accepted it.
Today as we were driving home from church we had Nathan's friend Kaben with us. Nathan told Kaben that we had taken the game off of his computer and that he had a different game they could play. When Kaben began to question the reason why we got rid of it, I was so proud to hear Nathan give the biblical reason. It struck me again how burdened we are as parents to provide not just boundaries for our children to protect them and teach them authority and respect. We are called to give theologically sound explanations for why things happen in the world around us. God should not be some magical amulet we pull out when things go wrong or when we say the occasional prayer around the dinner table when there is company. God should permeate every facet of our lives and every moral lesson should start and end with His word.
If we raise our children according to scripture, we are obedient to God and show our children by example what biblical obedience means. We cannot rely on the church to teach our children important truths about our faith....that is our responsibility as parents. The church is a wonderful support system and place of fellowship and accountability, but it is not how God intended for our children to be taught the basic precepts of Christianity. I challenge all Christian parents to be actively involved with teaching and molding our children so that they will one day "mount up with wings as eagles" and fly away from home with moral fiber that will withstand attack when we are not there to point them in the right direction.