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If We Had a Wii, We'd All Be Happy

And other myths we believe

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If we had a Wii gaming system, we'd all be happy.

My daughter thought that using the Wii to create Mii avatar graphics that looked like her favorite science teacher would make her happy.

My boys believed that if they could at last play the flashy Lego Star Wars game on a new Wii they'd be happy.

Because I'd seen my kids hopping around to dancing games on a friend's Wii—#exerciseforcouchpotatoes—I thought that if we had a Wii gaming system that also improved their cardiovascular fitness I would be happy.

And we all agreed that if we purchased enough extra controllers, friends in the neighborhood could be happy along with us.

There was no question about it: the Wii was going to make us one creative, happy, physically fit, and social family.

There was no question about it: the Wii was going to make us one creative, happy, physically fit, and social family.

Happiness trajectory

Two years earlier, we'd been super-happy when we inherited a GameCube from generous cousins. (Yes . . . because they upgraded. To be happier.) I knew the games they'd sent along with it were a few years old, but my young kids had never had a gaming system before so it was new to them. And for a week or two, they were really happy.

But when the Wii was released, we realized the cold hard truth: the GameCube didn't let players dance competitively to ABBA's Dancing Queen.

This is how I justified coercing grandparents to pool their designated Christmas gift money to purchase a Wii for our family.

Because I made the final purchase of the Wii with the promised funds—since, in our experience, grandparents can't be trusted to not purchase the wrong product—I probably shouldn't have been as surprised and enraged as I was when, a few months later, my youngest was begging for an Xbox.

So he could be happy.

If you can believe it, the Wii did not satisfy. Any of us.

Really, it's true.

Quicker than I would have preferred, my kids learned to play Wii dance games sitting in a bean bag chair moving only their wrists. Lego Star Wars was fun for about three days. Maybe two. Same with a weird army of middle school science teacher avatars. And the neighborhood friends? They were in their living rooms playing their own Wiis with better controllers.

Because I didn't know a mustached Mario Brother from rat-tailed Anakin Skywalker, I became that mom who indignantly claimed that I'd known it was a bad idea all along.

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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck, award-winning writer and speaker, is a graduate of Westmont College and Princeton Theological Seminary. A TCW regular contributor and columnist, Margot speaks regularly on discipleship, justice, and living love in the world God loves. Connect with Margot on Facebook, Twitter, or at

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2014, June Week 3
Posted June 18, 2014

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Today's Christian Woman
If We Had a Wii, We'd All Be Happy