Mr. Chen and Integrity
Throughout the story of Nic Nelson and the Diamonds of Denmark, there is a recurring and important theme or value that permeates the pages; and that is integrity.
Nic has role models in his life who exude that trait, starting with his mom and including the very strong role model displayed by Capt. Spencer. However, it is Mr. Chen, owner of Chen’s Sports Emporium, who is the most verbal in pointedly advising Nic on how to handle certain problems in his life.
Nic and his friends meet Mr. Chen after taking on the challenge of being in a paintball competition where Nic’s nemesis, Johnny is also a competitor. Needless to say, Nic is most anxious to try and even the score after all that Johnny has put him through since moving to New Bonn.
But interestingly enough, Mr. Chen’s intuition and insights are brought to light the first time Nic enters the shop and begins to look around with his friends. Mr. Chen’s first conversation with Nic focuses on Nic’s need to prove himself. Obviously, this comment takes Nic by surprise, but it is the accompanying words of wisdom that probably surprise Nic the most, as Mr. Chen warns Nic against letting that need consume and control him.
As Mr. Chen continues to advise the group of friends on the paintball selections they are making, Nic starts to glean other pieces of wisdom regarding the attainment of goals and taking what may appear to be the easy way as opposed to the best or the right way to get there. They all learn from Mr. Chen that using your mind and heart (or intuition) can bring about a more successful, satisfying end to life’s situations and obstacles than strictly using one’s physical prowess.
In his future encounter with Mr. Chen, Nic again is given a lesson in integrity when they talk about Nic’s need to take revenge on Johnny. The first part of the lesson involves the brand name of the paintballs Mr. Chen wants to sell to Nic … P-L-H (Peace, Love and Happiness). Peace brings order to the Universe; Love provides the greatest power; and a paintball striking its target makes you very happy!
As their conversation goes on, Mr. Chen tries to guide Nic in seeing that revenge takes you out of integrity and creates a vicious circle of anger and bad feelings. Retribution, on the other hand, given with “compassion and restraint as your companions” will provide you more self-respect and contentment in the end.
In his “message,” Mr. Chen insinuates that sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing; but although it may be more challenging, it’s important to do it anyway. In the end, you’ll feel better about yourself.