Over a year ago I bought a used and battered Nintendo 64 video game unit (circa 1996) and 10 games for $62 bucks. My boys are young (AJ is 7, Nico is 5, and Jordan is 4) so they wouldn't know how "old school" Nintendo 64 is. I bought the unit for them to play things like Mario, Space Invaders, sports games, and other kid-friendly games. One game that came with the unit was called "The Legend of Zelda". It turns out, it is considered one of the classic video game series of the last 20+ years. The version we had was the first of the 3-D generation graphics.
Very simply, for those of you who are ignorant of the video game world: The Legend of Zelda series features a boy named Link, as the central playable character and hero. Link is called upon to rescue Princess Zelda, after whom the series is named. The main bad guy in the series is a powerful creature known as Ganon, sometimes appearing as Ganondorf . The action occurs in the land of Hyrule and involves a fantasiacal relic known as the Triforce, a set of three magically bound golden triangles of great power. Sparing further details, you have to navigate all sorts of cool forests, giant animal stomachs, and castles, defeat various "bosses", and eventually, after months of play (as you advance through the various "levels" you can save your game and pick up where you left off at a later time), you reach the final epic battle with Ganondorf and Ganon. AJ got to that final battle a couple of weeks ago and just today called me at church, where I am working on my sermon and Sunday school lesson, to tell me, "Dad, I beat the game". That's very cool.
One might rightly wonder, "what's the big deal"? I just think it's cool the way he persevered and went after a goal that was difficult. Further, on the way to beating the game, it was neat how older teenagers and some college students (thanks Mallory !) cheered and mentored him on whenever he got to a spot he didn't think he could navigate or advance past. Each Sunday, several of the teens would ask him how he was doing. For a 7 year old boy, that feels awesome.
Sure, in the bigger scheme of things Zelda isn't all that important. What's important is how it provided an opportunity for him to strive after something, have fun, interact with others about his saga, entertain his brothers, and allow me to encourage him and brag about him when he got the job done. What a blessing our children are! Praise the Lord!