Saturday, August 7, 2010

Helping Our Kids Learn to Communicate

Wii Sports
I feel much better about buying a Wii (even though we paid for only half, as I wrote about here) since I figured out a way to use it as a tool to train our kids.  I'm not sure about your children, but sometimes (or, LOTS of times) they have a hard time engaging others in conversation.  They can be pleasant enough with "Thank you" and "Yes, sir," and with answering questions, such as "What grade are you in?"  But we need to train them that good conversation takes effort from both parties.

And each of our children, and one in particular, sometimes tries to avoid conversation, with the claim of "I'm shy."  We don't buy that excuse.  When they refuse to talk to others, it is not shyness, but rudeness.  Someone acting shy is being proud, instead of considering others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).  To talk with someone, to ask about who they are and what they have done, is an act of selflessness and love.

So, back to the Wii, more specifically, Wii Sports, our first game that we had for the Wii.  I explained to my kids (especially Hannah and Elijah) that good conversation is like a friendly game of tennis.  The goal is to keep hitting it back and forth, keeping the "conversation" going.  When something happens to break the conversation, you "serve" up another question to keep it going.  The goal in conversation is to keep it going, to engage the other person by showing interest in him or her.

Conversely, I explained, good conversation is definitely not like boxing, where you just aim to beat up on someone.  And it's not so much like bowling or golf, which are really solo sports and the goal is just to knock down the pins or get the ball in the hole and then be done. 

Elijah chimed in, "But conversation could be like baseball."  I asked why he thought that.  He replied, "Well, you hit it to one person, and then he throws it to someone else, and then he can throw it to someone else, too."  Great thought!  Good conversations can be between two people, but it's great to have them among a group of friends as well, in community. 

Have you used games, toys, cartoons, etc, as illustrations to train your child?

--  Joey Espinosa

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