The Minecraft Rules of Life

In case you aren’t the parent of a boy (ages 6-12), Minecraft is a video game in which players mine a biome for needed supplies and then turn those supplies into various structures with various functions.  It’s pretty much a digital version of Legos.  The parenting downside of this nifty invention is the guilt over the hours my son spends glued to a game.  The parenting upside: no Legos on the floor to step on!

My son is a minecraft fanatic.  He’s been playing the game for about 2 years on various platforms and has learned quite a bit.  I’ve been waiting for him to move on to the next game fad, but he hasn’t.  This concept got my wheels turning!  Is he obsessed?  Do I need to find a psychologist?  Or is it possible that this game is still engaging for some reason?  So, I began to pay more attention to his game play.

I discovered that he’s building magnificent machines with this stuff called redstone.  It basically works like an electrical circuit.  There are pistons, pressure plates, doors, ladders, and other movable parts that I don’t remember at the moment.  The other day he built a machine that would cook fish for him!  It’s a completely useless item, but it’s really complex and cool.  Then he showed me his combination lock.  This 8-step series of switches had to be placed in just the right sequence in order to open an iron door.  He built that!  Amazing!  My kid is smarter than me!

As I was watching him play, he ran out of wood.  Wood is very useful in Minecraft.  You use it to make pickaxes (very important), ladders, gates, houses, and all sorts of items.  It’s one of the most important blocks.  Without wood, you’d be very limited.  I had been watching him create all these amazing machines and suddenly he was stopped.  He couldn’t finish the next great idea.  Then I saw him do the most amazing thing.  He traveled over to the forest biome and started mining wood.  He didn’t gripe or complain.  He didn’t post of Facebook how disappointed he was with the world or the lack of fairness therein.  He didn’t call his best friend and sob for half an hour.  He just went and cut down about 25 trees.  And after that, he trained a wolf, and went back to building.

It was the purest display of self-sufficiency that I’ve observed in quite some time.  I began to think about the way in which we approach the droughts in our adult lives.  Just this week I’ve run out of patience, energy, tact, and facial cleanser!  I hate to admit it, but I didn’t fare remotely as well as my son did in the face of a crisis.

Hang on, the analogy gets deeper …

Think of the building blocks of your life.  I dream of owning my own home and decorating it the way I’d like it to look.  I dream of a retirement account with enough in it to get by in my final days.  I dream of not having to work every waking minute to make ends meet.  I already have an amazing group of family and friends.  I have a successful business.  I have a church home that grounds me.  But what am I doing about those missing pieces.  Am I cutting down the trees necessary to get them?  Or am I complaining about the lack thereof?

I’m reminded of the quote that I recently pinned on Pinterest.  “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”  Perhaps it should read, “Have you worked at it as hard as you’ve bitched about it?”

Here is the Minecraft Rule of Life #1: Quit complaining and go cut down some trees!

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