Ah, the joys of summer! The kids are out of school and they can’t wait to…..
- a. splash in the waves at the beach
- b. catch fireflies in the back yard
- c. go for long bike rides
- d. sit in front of a computer screen for unlimited hours playing Minecraft.
At the Watertown Library yesterday, the joys of Minecraft were winning the day. Every seat was occupied in the computer area of the children’s room, and there was much rejoicing. Kids were building new worlds, comparing the benefits of various building materials, and showing their creativity to one another. My child was also playing Minecraft, on his iPod Touch, although I forced him to stop and read a book for 20 minutes.
Much has been written about whether Minecraft is a net good in the real world. Some folks say it is. Some say it isn’t. Based on our experience in my family, I would say that it’s a wash. On the one hand, it allows for amazing creativity and self-expression. We are created to participate in the generative work of God, and here’s a game that opens the door to thinking up new things. On the other hand, it required a good bit of parental oversight and is yet another screen-based activity. If we are to see the face of Christ in one another, we need to spend time looking in one another’s face, rather than at a screen.
Everything in moderation, as they say. And in it’s place, I say. I don’t want to see the Girl Scouts develop a Minecraft badge. Nor do I want kids in Sunday School crafting Solomon’s Temple on Minecraft. I want lots of space for touching real materials, talking to real people who are really in the room with you, and learning the physical, emotional, and spiritual skills that can take the creativity one might “mine” online and put it to good use in the service of others.
How about you?