Wrapping paper of all colors, with red bows and green and silver ribbons, covered our living room floor like it was New Year’s in Times Square. The scene was chaotic, but in a happy and joyful way. There were smiles everywhere we looked as we simultaneously celebrated the birth of Christ and the presents Santa Claus placed under our Christmas tree. The food was delicious and the gifts ranged from exciting new books to a portable gaming system to a visionary Blu-Ray adventure to sharp looking clothes to a princess or two. There may have even been a personal steamer for suits and shirts…
People were obviously good this year, which explains why everyone will end 2013 and start the new year in 2014 in good shape.
Except one. With the exception of one particular nephew.
The prize gift for my nephew was a Nintendo 3D DS. Once he unwrapped this from Santa, it was game over.
Actually, it was just the beginning, but you get the point.
We all tried to get him to stop for a while, but to no avail. It was his game and he wasn’t going to stop.
There was nothing we could do or say.
The rest of the day was a blur of action fighting, magical powers and mazes upon mazes upon mazes in adventurous lands. Hours passed and his fingers were slightly indented with the shapes of the DS buttons. Then, sadly, the battery life was spent. Time to charge it up! Feeling uncomfortable without the red gaming system in his hands, he fittingly sat uncomfortably next to the wall outlet and continued his journey inside the world of Pokémon.
Nothing would tear him away. He was in his own little world. He was in an impenetrable bubble floating just out of reach.
Then came the trip back home at the end of the evening. As we squeezed inside my sister’s car, my nephew continued to play without missing a beat. However, about twenty minutes into the drive, he just closed the game and squinted and cringed awkwardly.
Asking if he was okay, he said, “no…”
Some time went by. The following question and answer exchange revealed the last things we wanted to hear.
“Do you feel sick? Do you feel like you’re going to throw up?”
“Yeah, kind of…”
At this point, my sister and I instantly looked at each other with the realization that 35 MPH down a neighborhood street may not be fast enough for our current predicament.
Moving as quickly (and smoothly) as possible, we made it to my parent’s house on the way. After getting inside, I filled a cup with cold water. We then watched him like a hawk.
Yet, he was still feeling ill. So, of course, the appropriate next step is giving him a trusty Tums (Tum-Tum-Tum–Tum-Tums!). He sat on the kitchen floor, feeling a little better, but not wonderful. Then, he said something both confusing and surprising. We all listened intently as he basically explained how he (admittedly) had played the DS for too long and that looking at the screen, plus playing it in the car, had made him feel sick.
He still loved the gift, no question, but he realized that there may be a limit to gazing at a screen. What’s truly impressive is who ultimately got my nephew to stop playing his new game non-stop that day…my nephew.
For some situations like this, it takes self-realization. Whether this involves putting down an addicting game or learning to go to sleep or trying new foods, there are moments when one has to figure it out on his or her own.
In the case of my nephew, he won’t just get better and be in good shape…he’ll be in great shape.
That’s always a fine way to start any new year.
Hopefully everybody had a very Merry Christmas!