The answer has to be in that room. Maybe I missed a false wall, Jackson thought.
“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 10 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. He had no idea how to spell kiwi.
Miss Grouder sighed as she gave Jackson’s spelling test back to him. He had spelled most of the words wrong.
On the way home, Jackson crumpled the spelling test and stuffed it into the bottom of his backpack. Chester ran up behind him. “Do you want to come to my house and play soccer?”
“No,” Jackson replied. “I think I’ve figured out how to rescue the princess. Do you want to come watch?”
“Sit there and watch you play?” asked Chester. “No thanks! Seems like all you think about lately is video games.” Chester turned the corner toward his own house.
At home, Jackson turned on the computer and started the video game. I’ll play one game, he thought, and then I’ll get going on my homework.
Two hours later his mother called, “Time to eat, Jackson. We have to hurry or we’ll miss the start of the movie.”
“Coming, Mendoz—uh, Mom.” If I can just get past this guard, he thought. 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 ran to the front door. His family was gone. There was a note on the table: “Gone to the movie. Wish you had come. Home by 8:00. Call Grandpa if you need anything.”
It’s all the guard’s fault! Jackson thought angrily as he stomped to his bedroom. His unfinished homework was on his bed. Beside it lay his scriptures. He hadn’t read them all week. And there was the family home evening manual. He was supposed to give the lesson next Monday. But he didn’t feel like doing any of those things tonight.
Good thing it’s Friday, Jackson thought as he headed back to the computer. I’ll catch up on everything tomorrow.
But he didn’t catch up the next day—or the next. And it wasn’t long before the sound of the piano interrupted Jackson’s concentration on his latest attempt to rescue the princess. It was his sister playing the opening hymn for family home evening.
Family home evening! He had intended to prepare the lesson on Sunday, but he had gotten closer to rescuing the princess than ever before. Now it was too late to prepare.
Jackson grabbed his scriptures and ran to home evening. He would fake it. After all, they often read a scripture and talked about it so long they never got to the lesson. He would make sure they did that tonight.
“And help us apply the lesson to our 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 a scripture for us?” he asked. “How about Ether 12:27?”
His father read: “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,” said his father thoughtfully, “I think it means that we are given weakness to help us be humble. If we acknowledge our weakness and ask Heavenly Father to help us overcome it, it will become a strength to us.”
Mom raised her hand. “Soap operas were my weakness. Some days I didn’t do anything but watch my shows. The television was like a magnet, drawing me to it. It wasn’t until I admitted I had a problem that I figured out a solution.” Then she told how she had prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help her give up those shows.
Jackson squirmed in his chair. This wasn’t going quite like he wanted it to. He began to think about how much time he spent playing video games.
“When I worked at the candy shop,” his older sister began, “I practically ate my paycheck each week in candy. I prayed about it, then decided to set a candy quota for each day. If I stuck to my quota, I rewarded myself by putting the money I would have spent on candy toward a new pair of jeans. Some days I didn’t make it, but gradually I ate less candy.”
Jackson thanked everyone for their participation and bore his testimony that while we all have weaknesses, we can overcome them with Heavenly Father’s help. In fact, those weaknesses can even become our strengths.
After the closing prayer Jackson went to turn on the computer. Maybe a video game would help him forget the growing uneasiness inside him.
But he couldn’t ignore the feeling he had. Did he really have a problem with video games? He didn’t spend much time with Chester or his other friends anymore. He had gotten a bad grade on a spelling test for the first time. He hadn’t read the scriptures all week. And he had missed the family movie. He knew it was time to apply tonight’s lesson to his own life.
Jackson turned away from the computer and went to his bedroom. He flopped down on his bed and opened his scriptures to Ether. The princess would have to wait. Right now he had some reading and thinking to do.