Friday, April 1, 2011

Life in the Arcade

Yesterday was Mr. E’s birthday and to celebrate he took twelve friends to the local nickel arcade for a party. Mr J and I went along for the fun and that it was. Each six to seven year old child was given a bag of nickels ($2.50 worth) and allowed to play whatever games they wanted. Watching their reaction was an education.

Some ran as soon as they received their money and began haphazardly putting nickels in the machines. After playing the game they’d excitedly pull out their yellow tickets, hold them aloft like a flag of victory while running to the next game. Within ten minutes their coins were gone and they began begging D5 for more coins or trying to coerce their friends into giving up a few. 

Others clutched their bag of money in their little fists protectively as they wandered the huge room looking at all the options. You’d hear them gasp, “Four nickels! I’m not going to play that game.”
Still others followed the first group around content and happy to watch their overly exuberant friends play and jump around. When it came time to go in for Lazar Tag, they looked at their bag of unused coins in amazement as if thinking, ”Oh, I could have played a game.” But they were happy.

In short, watching the event was like watching a life metaphor come alive. These were first graders and already they had personality traits and habits that are shaping their destinies. It was the perfect example of how life is all about choices not events. We can each experience the same situation, but each of us chooses how we will react to that situation. It is not the situation that shapes us but how we choose to react to the situation.

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