Evolution of a Gamer Episode 4: Contentment (Classic EoG)
Episode 4 of a running series of articles where Ryan learned valuable life lessons through teaching gaming to his sons. This article originally ran on GoozerNation in April 2011.
My son and I have birthdays right next to each other. We were both given a bunch of cash through cards and the like. One day soon after our birthdays, I took my son to his half-day of preschool, then went to work. I then got a call from the babysitter who watches him after school: she was sick! I talked to my boss, and got permission to be off work. I thought about all the games I wanted to buy with birthday cash. He had recently been in game stores and started understanding the concept of money and paying for things; as well as noting games he himself wanted to buy. I thought "What a great surprise for my son! We will have a daddy-son gamer shopping spree!"
I pick him up from school, after thinking about what I wanted for three hours, pining over what game to buy for what system, and hop on the road toward the mall. "Guess what, buddy?" I say. "You get me all day, and we get to go to the mall and buy GAMES!!" My five-year old son then thought about it for a second and politely said "No thanks, Dad. I have enough games to play at home."
Like a ton of bricks, my son slammed me right out of the Corporate Machine and back into reality where I belong; where my wife and I diligently try to keep our son. I go home and look: there may be three games I want to buy today, but there are five I said the same thing about that I haven't even finished yet! Why NOT be happy, play what I have already received as gifts or bought outright, and get the others cheaper later, or better yet, Goozex.com for them with these games I have once they are finished? Commercialism is so easy to fall into, but my son did an awesome job of helping me realize this error in my judgment. We went home, booted up the Virtual Console, and played NES Mario games. After he went to bed, I put in an hour on Batman: Arkham Asylum to nearly finish it up. It took three more shopping trips to town before he ever spent his money. He bought this HUGE K'Nex roller coaster he saw and wanted two Christmases prior, and he and I had a GREAT time putting it together as a team.
Thanks, son, for reminding me to slow down and appreciate what I already am fortunate enough to have, but I appreciate YOU most of all.