Hey Arnold: Chocolate Boy – Part 1 Addiction Series

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The Nickelodeon series, “Hey Arnold,” means a lot to me. I grew up watching the series and many of the episodes had memorable moments and intense life lessons that stuck with me for a very long time.

One, in particular, is the lesson behind the episode, “Chocolate Boy.”

Chocolate Boy was introduced as a character who would NEVER, EVER say no to chocolate. His obsession and addiction was his name and his identity…his name was Chocolate boy.

In this episode a local bully in the school named Wolfgang teases Chocolate boy with a chocolate bar. He encourages Chocolate Boy to make a fool of himself by acting like a dog and running around like a crazy person.

Desiring to have more “fun” with Chocolate Boy, Wolfgang makes a bet with Chocolate Boy that if he stopped eating chocolate for 2 weeks he would give him a 10 pound bag of chocolate.

In an effort to get his 10 pound bag of chocolate, Chocolate Boy requests Arnold’s help in keeping away from chocolate for 2 weeks.

But, Chocolate Boy doesn’t admit the full details as to WHY he’s staying away from chocolate for 2 weeks.

2 weeks pass and Chocolate Boy meets up with Wolfgang and his friends. He get’s his 10 pound bag of chocolate and the truth finally comes out.

When Arnold finds out, Chocolate Boy distances himself from Arnold, leaving Arnold disappointed in the fact that Chocolate boy used him to simply get more chocolate.

Chocolate boy finishes the 10 pound bag in no time and begs Wolfgang for more. Wolfgang makes Chocolate Boy entertain him and his friends by dancing while throwing chocolate at him. Chocolate boy is embarrassed and later wonders off. While rummaging around in a garbage can he finds a broken mirror and sees his reflection.

He realizes he’s a total mess. He’s dirty. He’s covered in dust and has chocolate stains and a torn shirt. his eyes are bloodshot.

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Chocolate boy is down on his knees, knocking at Arnold’s door, begging to help him break his addiction and claims to be serious this time.

Arnold went into counselor mode and started getting into Chocolate boy’s head and later his heart. Arnold finds out that it wasn’t his mom or dad who gave him chocolate. It was the boy’s nanny. He loved her nanny. One day, the boy came home, only to find his nanny preparing to leave for the final time. The nanny left him a bag of chocolate and told the boy to be good and to be happy.

That night, Chocolate boy went up to his room, sat down and ate and ate the chocolate.

Chocolate boy became Chocolate boy out of pain. He was sad. He was hurt. So, he went for what felt good. He went for the chocolate. It served as a memory for him to his nanny. It served as a way to never be disconnected even if it meant hurting himself and entertaining others. Chocolate boy was easily manipulated, controlled and used.

His heart was broken and he covered it up with his addiction to chocolate.

For a moment, let’s step outside of the “Hey Arnold” universe for a moment.

Perhaps, for a long time your addiction was your identity. Perhaps, for a while, your struggle, be it public or private, was what dominated the definition of who you are. It was what you were called maybe at home, school or work. Maybe something in the past happened and you used things in an unhealthy way to help you cope. It’s almost so normal to you now that you behave any kind of way for your habits to be fulfilled.

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Near the end of the episode, Arnold told Chocolate boy that watching chocolate would not bring his nanny back. He also asked him what would his nanny think after seeing him behave this way. Arnold then told him he could be free and gave him a cause: “do it for you nanny!”

As Christians, we have to understand that addictions and habits will not help us deal with the real problems we face. We also should consider what God, Christ and the Word of God says about our issues and our actions. Finally, we have to have a cause…Jesus.

In the habits and issues I have faced, I have become more and more convinced that the more I choose Jesus on a daily basis, the less I want of the things that have tried to have an addictive stronghold on me.

Being Peculiar

I am chosen and set-apart.

There’s something really peculiar, different and weird about that isn’t it?

In a world that wants to follow the lead of the most popular and most hip thing, we have a culture that’s desperate for something different. But, no one wants to take the plunge because doing so will put them in the middle – to be embraced or to be embarrassed – or both.

You’ve been created for something greater than the status quo!

Growing up, I recall most people seeing me as somewhat strange, peculiar to say the least. I didn’t really use slang, if at all. I thought about things that most average kids usually didn’t think about. And I had this intense fascination for storytelling, science, cartoons and the list goes on.

By age 11 I watched my first State of the Union Address and by the time already knew the basics of how a Nuclear Reactor worked.

Maybe this sounds like you. Maybe this sounds like a kid you know. Maybe it’s your kid and you’re thinking, “oh my gosh, how did you know that about my (insert name).”

And yet, the pressure is on and the fight is on to keep being that person.

Why!?

Because their are people with vested interest in knocking you out of your rather peculiar place. Their are people with vested interest in teasing you, bullying you, judging you and looking at you like you’re crazy rather than embracing you.

But, don’t be surprised. Stay encouraged.

Because the person whose peculiar and who suffers the peculiar life grows to live a peculiar purpose.

I’m a living witness that it’s worth it.

For every moment I stayed true to myself even after criticism and bullying, it was worth it.

For every moment I ended up alone because I didn’t follow the crowd, it was worth it.

For every moment I felt like a loser, a failure, a wimp, a nobody, it was all worth it.

It’s even more worth it, because I’m able to live to tell about it and encourage someone else.

Dreams

A few weeks ago, I asked some friends on Facebook, “do dreams die?”

I was told by some of those friends that “dreams don’t die, they change.”

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a Meteorologist. But, because my math was not all that great, I chose to get into Journalism. The rest is history.

I then began to think about where I am in life and about my life, my purpose and calling in life.

Perhaps we get too wrapped up in our original design of what life should’ve been like. To be honest, I’m kind of glad that things worked out the way it did for me as of late. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than the alternative.

Just because things don’t go your way doesn’t mean that you failed. Just because what you desired and wanted didn’t take place doesn’t mean that you are a loser.

If anything, where you are now in life is a perfect opportunity to start new and start different.

Dreams may not die. But instead, change.

And change can be a very good thing.