April 25, 2011-More Storms in April

This month is turning out to be a disappointing month.  Not only did I not get my Apocalypse World game started but now I got the talk from my son that I have been speculating would happen since December- “you know Dad, I am getting bored of Star Wars, pretty much all role-playing, and I think I would rather play RPGs on the X-box.” 

You see, I am a divorced Dad that lives about an hour away from his kids which only allows me visitation every other weekend.  Playing Star Wars was a good way to bond with my oldest son; it was something to do over the weekend and gave special attention from me to him.  In December, he transferred schools and moved in.  Over the last four months he has found more things to do around our home than he could by just visiting every other weekend and has received that fatherly attention you can only get by living with your father.  When you are a visiting Dad, you want the all the weekends to be good; so you don’t worry about the little things, you turn a blind eye to a messy room, and empathize about school and grades because they are not your responsibility.   A weekend Dad has to accept that he does not have any direct control over his children but rather influence which is directly related to how receptive your children are to you.  Pissed off kids, generally, are not at all receptive to your opinions, so you want to keep them happy. 

Living with your child is a completely different setting which changes nearly all the dynamics.  That messy bedroom for two out of fourteen days is now messy twelve out of fourteen, no blind eye turned for that.  School and Grades are now my responsibility, so I have to directly get involve.  Sure I can still empathize once every three months when we have a heart to heart talk about his feelings towards school; but I also have to make sure he is turning in assignments every week.   Instead of worrying about what we can do, I worry about what he is doing.  Also, he gets to see my bad days and normal flaws, which can be shelved for two out of fourteen days.  In other words, we are getting normal parent/teenager relationship.

All of this has taken the luster out of gaming together, which I figure would happen down the road when I agreed to having him live with me and Laura.  I hoped it would not be so soon, that the game would be compelling enough to keep his interest.  However, can a teenager keep his attention on a game that happens at most-once a month?  No, not really.  So, when he talked to me this gaming weekend about not wanting to play, I complemented him on his honesty and courage.  I was disappointed but not angry, I understood where his heart was coming from which lessen the pain- I did hound him about his homework. 

Many people say that they game to get away from their life that it is an escape and that they can be briefly somebody else who is not them.  I never really understood that, because life has this way of following you around.  When try to stop it, it is like putting post in a field, life just walks through the gaps.

Pete

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