I remember last year when my cohort and one of my closest friends who I would do almost anything for Craig asked me to go on the road with him to broadcast a Lockport Express game. The truth was that Craig's timing was horrible as I had a ton of work to catch up on that weekend and a family event that had been planned for months. I had to decline his invitation, so he went on without me.
I am like that. I have no problem telling friends or family members that I have too much to do to play around with something fun. If there is work to do and money to be made, then that takes priority. It is my universal policy for all of my friends and family members. The problem is, it doesn't work on my four-year-old.
The walk from my comfy chair to my home office is a few steps through the kitchen, a quick right through the living room/library, and then up the stairs. The journey seems simple enough, but the four-year-old is usually in the living room/library playing Lego Harry Potter or something on his XBOX. Well, it is my XBOX. But I learned a long time ago that video games are excellent learning tools for little ones. World of Warcraft helped my son immensely with his communication skills. So, I don't deny my four-year-old his time with Harry and his friends each morning.
The issue with my four-year-old and video games is that he hates playing alone. Even if he is playing a one-player game, he hates playing alone. That makes that half-second right turn from the kitchen, through the living room/library, to the stairs an impossible task. Every morning, without fail, I try to quietly make the leap to the carpeted stairs so as to not catch his attention. But every morning I get stopped by those six words that go right to my soul: "Bapa? Will you pway wif me?"
Ah..."Will you pway wif me?" It isn't bad enough he uses that little voice of his that cuts right through me and motivates me to give him whatever he wants, he also has to turn the puppy dog eyes on me. I'm a tall guy, so my little ones have to crane their necks a little extra to make eye contact with me. But my four-year-old has this talent for slightly lifting his head and looking right into my eyes, while at the same time making his eyes the size of hockey pucks. The kid melts me, and I have no choice but to pway wif him.
I make time every day to pway wif my little guy. Sometimes I get him away from the games to do something else, and now that the weather is nice I use the outside as an excuse to put down the XBOX controller. He's a kid, so the outside holds a lot more interest than video games, thank David Gilmour.
"Will you pway wif me?" There is no defense for it. There is no saying "no." There is no way I am going up those stairs until I give him a little of my time first. I hope my adult friends and family members understand. But as long as that kid has a complete grab on my heart and soul, "Will you pway wif me?" is going to be something that takes priority over everything else in my life.
George N Root III is the grandfather of two awesome little guys. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.