“The Choice,” Friend, June 2000, 12
“Here’s that video I was telling you about,” Jordan said, handing his friend a plastic case. “It’s got some cool stuff on it. Guns and stuff.”
“What’s the rating?” Blaine asked, opening the case and looking inside.
“Who cares? My mom lets me watch anything.” Jordan pulled on his roller blades. “Come on—put it in your backpack and let’s get to the park.”
As Blaine laced up his own roller blades, an uneasy feeling grew inside him. His family had often talked in family home evening about choosing good music, books, and videos. He had promised to not listen to or watch anything that he wouldn’t if Jesus were beside him. But if he didn’t take the video, Jordan would think that he was a wimp and might not want to be his friend any longer.
“Jordan?” Blaine kept his eyes on his roller blades. “I don’t think I’d better take the video. I know my mom wouldn’t like me to watch it.”
“So hide it and watch it when your mom isn’t home. Or is mommy’s little boy scared?”
The feeling inside Blaine had grown very strong, telling him to not take the video. He tried to ignore it as he tucked the video case inside his pack and raced after his friend. The feeling sank to a sick ache in his stomach.
Three other boys joined Blaine and Jordan at the park to play tag, race through a maze of giant cottonwood trees, and search for minnows in tiny, scattered pools fed by a winding stream. Blaine didn’t have much fun, though. He was trying to think of a way to give the video back without being teased by the other boys.
Soon it was time to go home.
“Hey, Chris,” Jordan said, “want to watch my video after Blaine’s done with it?”
“What’s it called?”
“Deathblaster. You should see how they kill off the bad guys.”
“Hey, cool! Blaine, when will you be finished?”
Now was his chance to give back the video, but somehow Blaine couldn’t make his mouth work. He shrugged, mumbled something about being late, and roller-bladed away, the video like a load of bricks on his back.
At home, he hid the plastic case at the bottom of his closet. I’ll just keep it for a few days and then give it back, he thought. Jordan will never know I didn’t watch it. But the sick feeling didn’t go away.
After dinner, the home teachers arrived with smiles and warm handshakes. Blaine loved to visit with Brother Jensen, who always had a story to tell, and with Brother Carter, who always asked Blaine how he was doing and gave him a peppermint.
Tonight, Brother Jensen told a story from the Old Testament. It was about Daniel and his three friends who were taken from their home in Israel, along with many other children, to the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be fed rich food and drink, but Daniel refused, asking instead for simple, healthy food for himself and his three friends. The king’s servant didn’t want to agree, but Daniel persuaded him to grant them a ten-day trial period. Ten days later, the servant saw that they were by far the healthiest of all the young people, and he quickly ordered the same food and drink for everyone. Because of their courage and faith, Heavenly Father blessed the four young men, and they became favorites of King Nebuchadnezzar.
“There are many around us who are trying to get us to make wrong choices,” Brother Jensen continued. “If we are as courageous as Daniel and his friends were, and stand for the right, Heavenly Father will bless us. We never have to go along with what everyone else is doing when we know it is wrong. To help us, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost to tell us whether a choice is right or wrong.”
Brother Carter looked at Blaine. “Have you ever had to choose the right, Blaine, when all your friends wanted to choose wrong?”
Blaine felt his face get red as he thought of the video in his closet. “Y-yes,” he stammered, looking at his feet.
Brother Carter smiled. “I’m sure you made the right choice. You are the kind of person who would listen to the Holy Ghost.”
As the home teachers left, Blaine excused himself and ran to his bedroom. He knelt by his bed, asking Heavenly Father for forgiveness and courage. Then he put the video in his backpack and went to ask his mother if he could go to Jordan’s house. “I need to return something that belongs to him,” he explained.
“Hurry back home,” Mom said. “It will be dark soon.”
As Blaine skated up to Jordan’s driveway, he was dismayed to see him playing basketball with the other three boys. They saw Blaine and ran over to greet him.
“Want to shoot hoops with us?” Jordan asked.
Blaine shook his head. “I can’t. I just need to give you this.” He pulled the video from his pack and handed it to his friend.
“You saw it already? Hey, what did you think? Pretty gross, huh?”
There was silence as all eyes turned to Blaine. He looked right at Jordan. “I didn’t watch it. I don’t think it’s a family-rated video, and that’s what I watch. I’m going to rent a new video, though. Do you guys want to come watch it tomorrow? I’ll make popcorn.” He looked each in the eye, then turned back to Jordan.
There was another long silence.
“Yeah, sure, why not?” Jordan agreed. “Chris, you want this one?”
“Naw—my mom wouldn’t let me. I’ll watch Blaine’s with you. I’d better get going home.”
As the boys headed in separate directions, Blaine imagined Daniel beside him, a hand on his shoulder, smiling and nodding his approval. Blaine felt strong and courageous. A gentle warmth growing within told him that Heavenly Father was pleased with his choice, too.