32: The Heart of a Boy

32: The Heart of a Boy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

The Heart of a Boy

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.

~Walt Streightiff

Our son, Denver, was three, and like most children that age, he wanted everything he saw advertised on television. One of the toys he wanted the most that year was a He-Man Power Sword. Robert and I had seen the commercial for the toy numerous times. It was a large, yellow, plastic sword offering a variety of electronic battle sounds accompanied by an array of flashing lights. We decided to get it for him, despite the cost.

On Christmas morning, Denver eagerly tore into the colorful wrapping, shredding miniature snowmen as he went. The moment had arrived. We were ready to photograph his joy. Denver looked at the sword, his face perfectly blank, and then unbelievably, he set it aside. He was ready for his next gift.

I lowered the camera. Robert and I looked at each other. What? No happy surprise? No unadulterated joy? What happened?

We were confused and more than a little disappointed. This was the gift of all gifts. The Holy Grail of Christmas presents.

We tried coaxing Denver into playing with the once desired and now discarded toy, all to no avail. He wanted nothing to do with the legendary He-Man sword.

The day waned, sadly lacking in flashing lights, electronic crashes, and anticipated battle cries of “I am the power!”

The mystery of the He-Man Power Sword would remain unsolved for the next several months. When the solution finally did come, it came via the television.

Denver and I were engrossed in the usual Saturday morning fare of cartoons when the commercial for the He-Man sword aired again. I watched the boy in the commercial grab the plastic weapon. I saw He-Man’s archenemy, Skeletor, materialize out of the sword, and I watched the commercial kid battle and naturally vanquish the villain.

And I thought nothing of it.

Not until my son asked, “Does that really happen?” Suddenly, I understood.

“Is that it?” I asked him. “Do you think Skeletor’s going to come out of the sword?”

His answer was a hesitant nod. He was not sure, but he obviously had not been willing to risk it.

I hugged him then, stifling my laughter and marveling over the literal world of children that we, as adults, tend to forget. I assured my very frightened little boy that with the exception of a little light and a lot of noise, nothing and no one would ever come out of the sword. I also took the time then that I should have taken before to explain about television and its world of exaggeration and make-believe.

The day is a distant memory now, as are the hours of migraine-inducing fun Denver enjoyed wielding that He-Man Power Sword.

~JéAnne Leites

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