Today’s Daily KIP REALLY got my mind racing about areas in my life where I rationalize.  One way that I would describe rationalizing is excuses I make to justify WHY I’m making a decision or WHY I’ve done something that I had ALREADY decided and spoken that I was NOT going to do.

Let me share the most current situation that I’m struggling with……..VIDEO GAMES, yep – I’ve RATIONALIZED and I’m not happy about it.

When my boys were a few years younger, just starting to get into video game playing, the games they enjoyed were educational, some were rated E for everyone and a few were rated eC for early childhood.  I felt these games were ‘safe’ for their impressionable little minds.  Games such as Mario Brothers, Dora the Explorer, NHL, NBA, NFL, and NASCAR speed racing, just to name a few, checked out OK with me.

I, personally, do NOT enjoy playing video games.  I believe it is a waste of time.  I don’t understand how most of the games work or how to operate the controllers.  The bottom line IS, I’m just NOT into video games.  As a child we had an ATARI where I attempted to play games like asteroids, frogger, donkey kong, pong, and pac-man.  When the first Nintendo game came out, I DID get pretty good at Mario Bros. but that was the extent of my video game playing career.  I have NO desire to pick it back up and master it by any means.

Because of my ignorance and extreme lack of interest I took the ‘lazy’ route and decided to base my video game buying, for the boys, on what the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) suggested.  That was simple, NOT very smart, but simple.  Here’s what I decided…….the boys could play E rated games until they reached 10, then they could play 10+ rated games until they became teenagers.  At that time they could play T games.  Then lastly, IF they were STILL into video games, by the time they were 18, they would be considered ‘mature adults’ able to make their own decisions and play the games they wanted to.  That was my VERY naive decision, but I was going with it……………so I thought.

I remember the FIRST game that made its way into our home that was T rated, Tony Hawk.  This is where the rationalization started.  Honestly I don’t even know how it got into our home, it just appeared!  A birthday gift? or something?  My point is, I read the cover, my boys were getting bored with their current games, it was JUST skateboarding – RIGHT?  With some blood – YUK!  Come to find out, my boys ALREADY knew how to play the game!!!  HOW?  Because they played it other people’s homes.  OH MY!

The door had opened to my U10 boys playing T games.  The new obstacle for me now was saying NO to the MANY other requests to play other T games.  Our conversation at Target in the video game isle would go like this:

Zachary:  “Mom, can I get this game?”

Me (with a smile):  “UM NO, that is rated T, please pick one that is rated E.”

Zachary:  “Mom, all the E games are soooo boring, I have the ones that I like, can I PLEASE get this one? PLEASE, pretty PLEASE?  It’s no big deal mom, I’ve played it before, it’s FUN!  Plus you’ve already let me play Tony Hawk and THAT is rated T!”

Me (not smiling):  “NO.  AND really?  You’ve played this one before too?”

Zachary:  ”This is so cheap!!  I never get what I want – It’s MY birthday money, I should be able to get the game I want!”

Me (frustrated):  “Let’s go, we are leaving!  No game!”

This ONLY lasted a few times until I ultimately RATIONALIZED and gave in.  I would read the covers, consult with the “teen-aged” workers to get THEIR advice on whether THEY felt the game was appropriate for MY child and eventually I was purchasing T games.  OUCH!

Here’s the kicker, it didn’t stop there – YES, I eventually broke down after NUMEROUS conversations like the one above and have NOW purchased 2 M rated video games.  WHY?  Because I was convinced by my child that the T games were NOW boring and the M games are no big deal, besides, they played them before with their cousins and with friends.

Enough said……this my dear readers IS RATIONALIZATION at it’s finest.  I am NOT proud.

Understand this – MY conviction may NOT be your conviction.  I am not sharing this story to pass judgment on any parent who has different views on video games for their children.  I’m sharing my story to shed light on how easy rationalizing can make its way into our lives; inch by inch.  I’m sharing this because I’ve seen rationalization become a common excuse for our behavior; with the excuses and rationalizations we can begin to buy the lies of this world that lead to destruction.  Lastly, I wanted to share this to simply get you thinking……are there any areas in your life where you’ve rationalized or are starting to?

Fear, people pleasing, selfishness, comfort, laziness, unwanted judgement of others, and insecurity are what lead me to rationalize on the video games.  I’m taking back the ground that was lost from rationalizing and making changes.

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