Sunday, February 3, 2013

Odd answers to prayer: Play More Mario

For Christmas, Prince got Super Mario Bros. for the DS. The new Super Mario Bros game has a fatal flaw: you can't save your game unless you beat a Bowser or purchase a new pathway. He spent several days playing without being able to save his progress.

One night Prince was just about to fight Bowser - walking up to the battle, in fact - but it was time for bed. I had him close the game and get ready for bed. Then instead of reading Peter Pan together, I opened the DS and we beat Bowser together.

Prince was thrilled. He was ecstatic. The next day he ran up to me randomly and gave me a big old hug! Prince never does this. He said, "Daddy, do you know why I did that? It's because you beat Bowser last night. Thank you." and ran off.

That was sweet.

It would sure be nice to have some more of that kind of gratitude, lovin, and bonding.

But I couldn't abandon our READING of great children's literature to play video games at night. That's just going the wrong direction. I had been trying to figure out how to get more reading time in so we could actually get somewhere, not less.
I had been praying for some time to know what I should do to be a better father, without getting much in the way of answers.
One night I lay in bed reading my scriptures. The Lord took some of the brethren to task for not teaching their children light and truth. The Spirit came to me: Great children's lit is nice. It's not the most important thing. The most important thing is that your son knows you love him. Play Mario with him.

I talked to Joy about this answer and she provided one more bit of inspiration. We would play Mario together any night he had kept his underwear clean all day. If not, we would read together.

I told Prince about the deal. He was ecstatic. He was so ecstatic, he kept his underwear clean 11 days in a row, including on all our plane trips to get to Nigeria! It had been two months since we had that kind of success.

We went to ice cream to celebrate his first few days. (Prince had banana ice cream and loved it.) Then Pop took us out to IHOP to celebrate a few more. We still owe him a picnic outside once the dust clears up a little. Once he gets to 14 days, he'll earn a Super Mario Galaxy game for the Wii.

It is such a wonderful breakthrough of success, we have several times knelt to pray in thanksgiving for Mario - something that has not often happened - and the inspiration for how to use him and spend our time.

(Disclaimer: No, we are not paid by Nintendo, Cold Stone, IHOP, or anyone else for these product placements.)