20 Years and Counting

20 years together, two decades, seventy-three hundred days, however you want to list it. It’s a number that a lot of people strive for in a relationship. For us, it’s just another day.

It’s amazing that our journey has continued trucking along for this long. I could not ask for a better partner to call my wife. I can only imagine the life we will have together as our adventure continues. Happy anniversary Destiny, I love you always and forever!

How Video Games Can Help Build Your Child’s Self Confidence

(Unsplash CC0)

Video games tend to get a bit of a bad rap from both parents and the media.

There is the assumption that gaming isn’t healthy and this is partly tied into the ‘screen time’ debate that is often a hot topic of discussion.

While too much screen time can be a bad thing, and while hours spent gaming isn’t healthy, there are reasons to suggest that gaming isn’t a wasted hobby. And for your child, one benefit is the way gaming can build their self-confidence. Here are the reasons why.

#1: Gaming can give your child a sense of control

Children don’t have a lot of control over their lives. Not only do they live under the rules of their teachers and parents, but they might also be subject to the demands of their peers too. This is all part of growing up, of course, but when children can’t make decisions for themselves, their confidence can be knocked. This is where gaming is useful as they can be in charge of making decisions for themselves. From make a country games like Politics & War where they can rule their own nations to The Sims where they can manage the needs of a virtual family, they can finally take charge and be the person in control.

#2: Gaming is a skilled hobby

Many children excel when playing video games. While they might struggle with the game mechanics at first, they can learn as they go along and then master the game in question by becoming much better at it. This is a great way to build confidence, as they will gain a sense of achievement, such as when completing a very difficult level. They can also gain approval from their peers as they will have the opportunity to show their friends how good they are when playing a multiplayer title. The commendations they receive will also give them a boost to their self-confidence. 

#3: Gaming can build social skills

Not every child has good social skills. And because of this, they can receive a knock to their confidence when they struggle to communicate with others. Thankfully, playing video games is a great way to build social skills, and this might make it easier for them when they’re interacting with people in the real world. Children can share their opinion when discussing tactics in a multiplayer game, for example. And they can make friendships with people they regularly play with. For children who struggle to raise their voice or make friends in school, this can help them become more confident when trying to relate to others. Gaming isn’t the isolated hobby that many consider it to be, so multiplayer games shouldn’t always be discouraged. 

And so…

Should you be worried if your children spend all of their time playing video games? Yes, of course. However, in moderation, gaming is a perfectly acceptable hobby. Especially when it can help your children grow in self-confidence, it’s important not to dismiss video games as ‘unhealthy’ or a ‘waste of time.’ You might know this already of course, especially if you’re a gamer yourself, as you may have grown in confidence because of the games you have played.

Mother’s Day Minus Mom

This past Mother’s Day was the first Mother’s Day without my mom. Surprisingly, I handled it pretty well. I spent the entire day with my beautiful wife, celebrating her with some movies, food, and a couple gifts. It was a great day all around and I am so happy I was able to pull it off without breaking down, because let’s be honest, my mom being gone was on my mind the entire day. I knew I had to be strong, this day is not about me or about my loss, it’s about celebrating the amazing mother of my two crazy kiddos.

After waking up just before my wife I went upstairs and woke up the kids and had them help me wrap the Mother’s Day gifts they made and helped me pick out. We ended up making an adorable photo book with lots and lots of photos from last year. The kids also made a bunch of cards and pictures to fill up her gift bag. When she finally woke up we surprised her with her presents and then we relaxed and watched some movies while finishing up a couple of illustration projects we were working on the night before. For lunch we ventured down to Jersey Mike’s (we really need one closer) and enjoyed a ridiculously delicious sandwich.

The kids were amazing all day, they picked up after themselves, didn’t fight, and even went to bed on time. It was a pretty good day, although the weather sucked, it was a nice day celebrating an amazing mother.

By the end of the night I was exhausted and ready to crash. We had a full day and it was time to shut down. What sucked was that it took me forever to fall asleep. Laying there quiet it’s easy to get into your own head and have those thoughts that you have held back all day just unleash themselves on your mind, of course right before it’s time to sleep too. So I ended up sleeping like crap. I woke up tired and groggy. Whatever, I will push through and own Monday!

I still miss my mom as I am sure I always will. It just kind of sucks sometimes. Like recently, I really needed someone to talk to and I pretty much had no one. I had to solve my problem on my own. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last time, but it was harder this particular time because mentally, I had to push through.

Even at 37 years old I still needed advice from an “adult” and that person I wanted to talk to was not there and I need to remember that they will never be there again. My self-doubt will be all over the place while I figure out how to put my shattered self back together. In the end I am sure I will be okay, but it takes time, a clear head, and being honest with myself. Which I am trying to do, but I got to tell you, it’s hard. A mom is the one that tells you that your crappy drawing is a work of art and hangs in on the fridge, she boosts your confidence even when you’re acting a fool. I miss my mom, and while I made it through Mother’s Day, I know it’s not going to get any easier not having her around and I will continue to do my best in making sure she is never forgotten.

What Does It Take To “Keep the Edge” When You’re a Parent?

Of all the things that occur to our outlook when we become parents, one of the biggest concerns could be that we are just losing our edge. Becoming a dad, for all of the most wonderful things that come as a result of it, could cause you to worry about turning into some sort of old fuddy-duddy, and are losing the inherent thing that makes you you! But you’re not the only one, but it comes to keeping your edge, it’s not necessarily about buying a car that exudes style, or wearing “younger” clothes, but about making sure that you differentiate yourself. How can we do this? 

Have Little Components of Style, Although You Need to Be Sensible

If you are worried that becoming a dad means you’ve got to be “safety first” in every single way, it doesn’t stop you from getting little components of style in a subtle way. Take your car; if you are concerned that you’ve got to get a family station wagon, is there anything you can do to spruce it up? Something like alloys may look a little bit jarring on a family station wagon, but you can still purchase a vehicle that is safe, while also suiting your personality in spades. And while alloys are prone to damage, you can still use suppliers like Platinum Wheel Repairs to fix them up. Needless to say, the little components of style do not need to leave you.

Don’t Follow the Herd 

If you are someone who is constantly worried about losing your edge and settling into old-age pastimes, you don’t need to do what every other parent is doing. You need to follow your own journey. This could mean doing something that no other parent does or choosing a style of fashion that may be frowned upon in parents your age. But the most important lesson we can all learn is to be ourselves. Everybody tells us that we need to give in to old age and start being more sensible, and to an extent, this is true. However, we must remember that if we want to be our own person. We have to follow our instincts and do the things that feel right for us. 

Don’t Even Try to Keep up With Your Child! 

This is the biggest lesson for any parent. We might believe that in order to have some sort of edge, that we need to remain youthful, but the reality is that this looks like we are trying too hard. If you want to retain an edge as a parent, it’s not about trying to keep up with any form of trend, because this will only make you look more desperate. If you want to keep your edge but you are still looking to be sensible, all you need to do is be yourself. This may sound like some sort of cop-out, but the fact of the matter is that if you worry that you are losing touch as soon as you become a dad, you are better off trying to keep up with the only trendsetter that matters in your life: yourself!