Starbucks and Video Games

I imagine every father has experienced the frustration of having a child who doesn’t seem motivated. I say “seem” because it’s really a matter of perspective. He might not seem motivated to do the things I want him to do, but I bet my dad didn’t think my fascination with my Commodore 64 and collecting pirated video games in the 80s would lead me to life success, but here I am.

From my son’s perspective, getting more kills in CSGO and getting better weapons in Rust is pretty motivating stuff. I’ve been making a real effort to understand and analyze how what he’s doing will help him survive as an adult. There are tons of books and papers on how to raise children but I am convinced there is no manual. Every human is different, and while you can categorize them a little, they all have their differences. You can put snowflakes and fingerprints in buckets, but they are all unique. There’s no one answer and no perfect score.

Rush recently penned the lyric, “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect: so hard to earn, so easily burned.” For a die hard individualist like me, it’s hard to be so soft about it, but really, that about sums it up. If my son can get through life and find love in something, someone, or both, while respecting others and being respected, then maybe my wife and I can consider our work done well.

My son and I have this ongoing conversion where I get frustrated at his lack of initiative and say, “You can work your shift at Starbucks, and go home to your house you share with four other people, go in your room, shut the door, and play video games all night. It’s totally possible to pull that off, but is that the life you want for yourself?”

Parents out there take heart. If your 15 year-old is playing video games with his friends, he’s probably staying out of the trouble facing many other teenagers. Steam brings problems of its own, but at least my son doesn’t have Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. He does have initiative, just not the traditional kind. I have a strong suspicion everything is going to be fine. He’s a smart kid and he will figure it out.

Starbucks and video games aren’t all that bad, after all.

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