I just had one of those moments. And it feels good inside.
We just left a video arcade where a 9 year old boy was playing Pop-a-Shot and thought he was really hot stuff. He had an entrouge cheering him on: his father, mother and older sister. They were chanting things like “Go, Josh!” and “That’s great, Josh!”
Well, I did what any other guy in a video arcade would do who had Pop-a-Shot game. I immediately got 4 quarters and went to work. While the family was still close enough to watch me.
I filled it up, too! Josh’s high game was 22. Mine was 41. ‘Nuf said!
As I turned to walk away in hopes someone in that family would marvel out loud, “Who is that guy?” or at least say to me “Great shooting!” But none did. Instead they stared downward at the machine and watched it spit out ticket after ticket I had won with my score.
It was at that moment I knew what I should do: Reach down and grab the tickets and buy my 16 year old daughter and 20 year old son a toy prize.
But something deep inside me reminded me that when I did that in the past –when they were very young – we never made it home with the toy prize intact.
And then something hit me at a deeper level. It was this question: What would a real grown-up do? And I had it. I knew without even thinking. A real grown-up would leave the tickets so he wouldn’t have to clean up the mess in the car after his kids tore up the toy prizes trying to play with them. And I did.
Josh grabbed the tickets and looked at me and I just smiled. I told him I was 51 years old now and he could have my tickets. He thanked me excitedly. I shrugged and looking at his parents and added, “If I were 49 I might want to keep them.”
They laughed out loud. But that’s because they don’t understand. They were in their early 40s and couldn’t yet know where I was coming from. But one day they will.