Last year for Christmas, we bought my son, KT, a Nintendo DS, a hand-held video game system. He quickly fell in love with his DS and has spent endless hours playing it.
Last night, we attended a holiday dinner social with a small group from church. Our group meets once per week, basically to connect and grow together spiritually. The kids hit it off immediately, forming a bond stronger than many of us adults.
One kid in particular is very rambunctious. O is three-years-old and is just like the Energizer Bunny — he just keeps going and going . But instead of hitting a drum, he hits other people. And kicks them and bites them and scratches them and pushes them and throws things and . . . well, you get the idea.
Towards the end of the party, as we were saying our goodbyes, the Energizer Bunny snatched my son's Nintendo DS out of his hands while he played the game, and then he smashed it on the floor. Hard, ceramic, tile floor. The thing cracked and broke, and so did my son's heart.
Dead silence followed. I don't think anyone has seen KT's hands since last Christmas, without the DS being glued to them. KT picked his limp DS off the floor and cradled it like a dead pet. I could tell he was winding up for a good cry. I took the broken thing in my hands and the Energizer Bunny's dad and I tried to piece it back together. But it was obvious with electronic guts in full view, there was no repairing it.
KT buried his head in my back so no one would see him crying, and I told him without hesitation not to worry, I'd buy a new one for him. I expected this would make him feel better. I expected a smile would replace the tears. But his response took me by surprise.
"But that's gonna cost too much money for you, dad," he said.
That's why I call him the best kid in the world! He was more concerned about my loss than his.
Later in the car, I promised him we'd go immediately to a Target store and pick out a new system. We'd just bought several new game cartridges for Christmas, and it just didn't seem fair. He hadn't done anything wrong. Had he been careless, he'd have been out of luck.
But KT had a lot of questions. "Dad, are you sure? Can you really afford this? How much will a new one cost? Is $129.00 a lot of money? Do you really have that much money?" This coming from a 7-year-old?
We didn't make it to Target last night. It was too late and the store had closed. We spent the better part of today looking for a new Nintendo DS system, but apparently it was a hot item for Christmas, and so it was sold out all over town.
I promised KT we'd look again in a week or so, once stores have had time to restock.
"Dad, are you really sure you can afford $129.00?" he asked again today. I told him that I could (I didn't tell him it would mean making only a partial car payment.)
"Well, since you can afford $129.00 for a new DS, maybe you could afford another $50 for a new game."
Sorry, he ain't getting the new game.