A Dad’s Life: Playing with Nothing

Wow – thanks for all the great feedback on our “A Dad’s Life” blog! We took it as a sign and have added another dad to the mix to make it a more regular feature on our site.

Please give a warm welcome to our newest dad and guest blogger, Christoper Drew.  Here’s his first HRM Parent post about “playing with nothing”…hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 


One of the unexpected benefits I have received when I became a dad is the reawakening of my own imagination. While my imagination remained active and in use after my own childhood it had weakened.

I remember fondly as a kid playing with toys and making them come alive. They had personality, history, goals, desires and so much more. Some of those toys were things like action figures. Being a child of the 80’s/90’s meant I was never in short supply of Ninja Turtles or Transformers. But those toys merely served as my canvas and my clay. They were whatever I wanted them to be.

Then suddenly I ‘grew up’. I became too old for such games and I moved on. A few years after I put my toys away I found myself looking at them again. But it wasn’t the same. That spark of imagination was gone. They no longer came alive for me. They had become only lumps of plastic and paint.

Having a four year old, a two year old and a 5 month old has given me a welcomed jump start to my imagination again. Watching my oldest play, bestowing life to his toys seems to have given me back that ability as well.

However sometimes I wonder if we get too focused on toys and electronics. I know in my home there is no shortage of toys, games, and gaming platforms. But sometimes it is more satisfying to put it all away and just delve into the depths of our own imaginations.

The other day my four year son Simeon was annoyed with me. He wanted to play his DS but I wouldn’t let him. I felt he had more than enough screen time that day and I wanted him to play with something else.  After a few minutes of me suggesting things he could play with and he telling me he didn’t want to I finally asked him;

‘Well what do you want to play with?’

‘Nothing’ he pouted back at me

‘Ok hold out your hand’

He complied mostly because I think he was expecting to get his DS back.  Instead I gave him a ‘nothing’.

‘Here Sim, here is a nothing, why don’t you play with it’

Simeon looked at me and his seemingly empty hands with some confusion. Clearly he wasn’t expecting to get a nothing to play with. So I cupped my hands and said ‘Here I have another nothing right here, let me show you what it can do.’

With that I started to mine blowing up my nothing, bigger and bigger and bigger. Then when it was big enough I tossed my nothing to Simeon. He caught it, and he caught on.

For the next hour or so we played with ‘nothing’. We had a nothing snow ball fight, we ate our nothings, we tried to capture wild nothings, we played basketball with our nothings, we even made an angry nothing calm down and be more happy.

Since I became a parent I have become grateful for many things. A renewed imagination is one for sure. And thanks to an afternoon of play the words ‘I have nothing to play with’ has taken on new meaning in our home.


Christopher is the pastor at Sackville Baptist Church. He is the father for three and the husband of one. He is a self professed geek and gamer. Read more about family, faith, and geekery at http://ModernManOfTheCloth.com

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