The answer has to be in that room. Maybe I missed a false wall.
“How do you spell kiwi, Jackson?”
“Uh, what, Miss Grouder?”
“Kiwi. How do you spell it? We’ve been talking about the spelling test for the past ten minutes. Where have you been?”
“Trying to rescue the princess of Mendoza,” Chester whispered from his seat behind Jackson.
Jackson felt his face getting hot. “K-e-e-w-e-e.”
Miss Grouder sighed as she placed Jackson’s spelling test on his desk. A big, red D stared up at him.
On the way home, Jackson folded the spelling test into a square wad and stuffed it into the corner of his backpack. Chester ran up behind him. “Sorry about your spelling test. Hey, do you want to come over to my house and try out my new soccer ball?”
“No,” Jackson replied. “I think I’ve figured out how to rescue the princess. Do you want to come watch?”
“You mean just sit there and watch you play? No thanks!”
“Maybe tomorrow then?”
“You’re starting to sound like a broken record.” Chester sighed and turned the corner toward his own house.
At home, Jackson headed downstairs to the family room, turned on the TV, and activated the video game. I’ll just play one game, and then I’ll get going on my homework.
Two hours later his mom called, “Come on, Jackson, we have to eat and get going or we’ll miss the start of the movie.”
“Coming, Mendoz—uh, Mom.” If I can just get past this guard. His hand deftly moved the joystick back and forth. Too late. The figure on the screen toppled over. No fair! I’ll play just one more. I know I can do it.
Suddenly the house seemed awfully quiet. Jackson grabbed his jacket and flew up the stairs two at a time. Silence greeted him. There was a note on the table: “Gone to the movie. Wish you could’ve come. Sandwich in fridge. Home by eight. Call Gramps if you need anything.”
It’s all the guard’s fault! Jackson stomped to his bedroom. On the table was his unfinished homework. Beside it lay his scriptures. He hadn’t taken time to read them all week. Then there was the unopened family home evening manual. He was supposed to give the lesson Monday night. But he didn’t feel like doing any of those things tonight.
Good thing it’s Friday. Jackson thought as he turned around and headed back to the TV. I’ll catch up on everything tomorrow.
Zap! Zing! “Take that!” The sounds of the piano being played rather badly interrupted Jackson’s concentration. It was his sister playing the opening hymn to call the family together for family home evening.
Family home evening! He had meant to do the lesson on Sunday, but he’d gotten closer to rescuing the princess than ever before. Now it was too late.
Jackson grabbed his scriptures and ran upstairs. He’d fake it. After all, sometimes they read a scripture and talked about it so much that they never got to the lesson, anyway. He’d make sure that they did that tonight.
“And help us apply the lesson to our own lives,” his little brother said as he finished the opening prayer.
Jackson opened his scriptures to where he had last read, “Dad, could you read some scriptures for us? How about here in Ether, chapter 12, verse 27.”
“‘And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.’”
“What do you think that means?” Jackson asked.
“Well, that we are given weakness to help us be humble. If we acknowledge that and ask for Heavenly Father’s help in overcoming a weakness, it will become a strength to us.”
Mom raised her hand.
“Soap operas. That was my weakness. Some days I didn’t do anything but watch my shows. No laundry, no grocery shopping, no scripture reading. The TV was like a magnet, drawing me to it. It wasn’t until I admitted that I had a problem that I figured out a solution.”
Jackson squirmed in his chair. This wasn’t going quite like he wanted it to.
“When I worked at the candy shop,” his older sister began, “I practically ate my paycheck each week in candy. I couldn’t help myself, it tasted so good. Finally after praying about it, I decided to set a candy quota for each day. If I stuck to my quota, I rewarded myself by taking the money I would have spent on candy and putting it toward a new pair of jeans. Some days I didn’t make it, but gradually I ate less candy. And I got the jeans!”
Jackson thanked everyone for their participation and ended the lesson. As soon as the closing prayer was finished, he excused himself and went downstairs. Maybe if he could play a video game, it would help him forget the growing uneasiness inside him.
But with each step, the anxiety spread. Finally he stopped. Did he really have a problem with video games? Chester didn’t seem to be his friend anymore. He’d gotten a D for the first time on a spelling test. He hadn’t read the scriptures all week, and he’d missed the family movie. Perhaps it was time to apply his lesson tonight to his own life.
Jackson turned around and headed for his bedroom. He flopped down on his bed and opened the scriptures to Ether. The princess would have to wait. Right now he had some reading and a lot of thinking to do.