Holy Family

Holy Family

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feast of Saint James the Greater

Good morning. Greatness certainly comes with a price. And, greatness goes far beyond just having everyone notice us. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that greatness doesn’t come with worldly achievements, riches, and conquests, or with getting the world to notice us. A few days ago a young man sought to have the world take notice, but he fell far, far short of greatness. This young man set about staging what he no doubt thought would be something that all would sit-up and take notice of, he staged a massive murder of 12 innocent people and wounded numerous more. He got noticed but again, he fell far, far short of greatness. 

We may never know what was going on inside the crazy caverns of this young man’s mind, but one thing certain is that all of us, that is, society may take credit in part for the bloodshed in Aurora, Colorado for we allow for the day to day sensationalism of violence in this society. It never ceases to amaze me as a marriage and family counselor how often parents allow their children to engage with violent video games, games that graphically romanticize killing and maiming, games that award and celebrate murder. 

Overwhelming research shows that children are spending increasing amounts of time playing violent video games, on the average 13 hours for boys and five hours for girls. The organization Children Now indicates that the majority of video games include violence and about half of the violent incidents in these games would result in serious injuries or death if they were to take place in the "real" world. That’s part of the problem, in the pretend world of video, death doesn’t mean the end, it means until next time. As Dr. Phil notes: "If you shoot somebody in one of these games, you don't go to jail, you don't get penalized in some way — you get extra points!" It stands to reason that what we allow our children to take-in on a daily basis ultimately determines in part who they become. If we allow our children on a regular basis to become part of a virtual fantasy of murder and mayhem, we shouldn’t be surprised when it becomes part of their future reality. Reasonable people understand that if we have a steady diet of something it leads to either something good or something bad. 

It stands to reason that the violence found in video games cannot result in anything good. What tells us as parents that allowing our children to play violent video games is a good thing? My point here is not that video games are bad, but that video games which glamorize and minimize the results of violence cannot lead to anything good. My point is that we as parents need to be more responsible and diligent about what our children are consuming. As parents, much like the mother of Saint James the Greater whose life we celebrate today, we desire great things for our children, yet the path to greatness comes with a price, and it requires as parents our making the right choices. Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint James the Greater.

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