Morio and I gave instructions and showed all the kids how to hit a badminton birdie with perfect form and accuracy. Now it was time to start the game. Soon enough the satisfying bink … bonk … boing would be heard as the teams made perfect contact with the birdie, sending it flying over the net.
Shoosh … swish … swipe … swoosh. We heard nothing but the sound of rackets slicing through air! Those kids couldn’t hit that birdie if it was 10 times its size and was painted bright red with flashing lights!
It’s OK, try again … watch Dad and I show you again … you can do it. This sort of thing went on for about 30 minutes. As parents you know what I am talking about, the fake smile plastered to your face with clenched teeth and narrowed eyebrows trying to encourage your “precious” children while inside feeling like you might scream and hit every one of them with whatever it close by (in this case the badminton racket).
And then, it happened again. Shoosh … swish … swipe … swoosh. Uughhhhhhh! “This game is easier to play on the Wii” said one of the boys. I thought I heard him wrong because I asked him to say this twice and then to demonstrate how and why it was easier. “Because Mom, all you have to do is swing your arm with the controller and you always hit the birdie!”
Of course it’s easier! It’s NOT REAL!
My children play video games, lots of video games. I do not play (mostly because my eyes and my hands along with my brain cannot use that controller with 30 different buttons and levers and toggles). Even though I don’t play video games, I understand why they like it so much. Think about it, if they want to go and swim an ocean or play golf for the first time they can and they will be winners and get a trophy or a medal for rescuing all the towns’ people from the enemy. They get to be winners and accomplish all these cool things without breaking a sweat; just a flick and a press of a button wins the day.
But I have decided this is the summer where I reclaim my kids and their unhealthy view of reality and what winning means. I’m going to get them out and away from the blue glow of the TV, and they are going to have fun and play outside just like we did when we were kids!
I hope they get scratches and bruises and bug bites. I want them to know that life and reaching our goals is not as easy as it is on a video game. But it is sooo much more rewarding and worth every bead of sweat, every scratch on your knee and every bug bite that it takes to get there.
Thank you to a simple badminton game for pointing out the opportunity for real life fun.
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