Rather than decry D&D as evil in itself, a college roommate, who is now a missionary to Russia, said that the biggest problem with D&D (and all roleplaying games) is that they are a time sink.
It takes a lot of time to put together an adventure, and then a lot of time to get together and play a session. There are any number of activities and hobbies that are also time sinks, so it is not just roleplaying games.
One can spend too much time watching TV, or on the computer, or fixing the old car in the garage.
Back during the First Great Awakening, playing cards, and parlor games had a bad name. From my reading on it, it was a problem for the Christians to partake in those activities more because as a believer in the reality of Hell, any activity that was not directly related to saving souls was of the devil. I think the one thing those who thought that way were missing, is that we all need to step back and have periods of diversions from everyday life. Even Jesus took time away from his earthly ministry to get away from the crowds swarming to get a miracle or hear him preach.
(Yes, I am a Christian who likes D&D. I am not trying to convert anyone, just pointing out that we Christians can get too caught up in our agenda and lose sight of the world God created, and the people whom we are to serve. Here is another disclaimer – I was a pastor for ten years. I did not mention my like of D&D, as some could not handle it when I mentioned that I liked “The Simpsons”. After 3 years of seminary, one can theologize about anything.)
It does not matter what the activity is in which one is engaged. There is nothing evil with having fun and blowing off steam, in a responsible manner. (I know some of my fellow believers would call me a heretic for that statement. I am not sure what Bible translation they would use to back that up.)
The problem comes with lack of balance. If you are in a job that demands a lot of time aware from family, even if you can bring the work home, if you are not “present” with them in an engaging way, what message are you sending.
Striking the balance of being a good spouse and parent, while still having individual “me time” is tough and takes making priorities and tough choices. Does one choose to follow one or two TV shows for each night of the week, and spend a couple of hours on the computer each night, or find activities to do as a family?
Just asking some reflective questions, and proving my point to myself. I can do better.
Writing things out is something I picked up in college. Once I write until the pen stopped, and whatever was on my mind was laid out, I could set it aside and forget about it and get to sleep. I do not do that near as often, over twenty years later, but I should, as it is so unburdening.
This is not a tell all, or Oprah moment. While I am not perfect, I do make an effort to be engaged with my family. Like all fathers, I have my “Cat’s In The Cradle” moments, when the stresses of life consume my thoughts. I know that I am far from the worst father in the world, but also far from the best. I do have moments with my sons when I know they truly appreciate me. I know it will get better as they get older. As I often tell them, “Your parents get smarter the older you get.”
Time flies so fast. I find it hard to believe that I am in my mid-40s. It is already August! I know why so many men fail their families and chase after younger women, they cannot accept who and where they are, and are chasing after youth. While a younger women might be exciting, you lose the benefits of having a woman your own age, who can relate to your life experiences. I see that with my children when I make a cultural reference from my youth, they look at me with blank stares. It is hard enough to keep up with changing technology at work, let alone all the things on hundreds of channels and millions of web sites. Life is too short to drop the life you chose in the past, for a “newer and better” life. I could not keep up with the culture in my high school days when we only had 4 or 5 channels, and dozens of radio stations. I can tell you if certain songs are from the 80s, but I may not know the name of the song, and many times won’t know which group.
As the subheading of this blog says, “Ramblings of an Old Gamer”. This one was all over the map. A combination of stress, tiredness, and a cold coming on, plus the late hour. I want to keep going with a post a day for as long as I can, with some relevance to gaming. This post took an idea and found the quickest tangent I could fine, being nearly all stream of consciousness. I hope I made some sort of point here.
Now if I had a bunch of monsters to go kill, that would alleviate some stress!