Competition was intense between Nannygranne and Ben during their after-breakfast bout of Uno.
“Best out of five,” Ben shouted as he lost his second hand.
“Ok, if you can stand to lose again,” laughed Nannygranne.
The boy grinned. “Oh, I won’t lose.”
As Nannygranne dealt the next hand, she decided to ask her favorite question of her young friends at moments like these. “Ben, I have a question for you. If you could ask God any question, what would that question be?”
Without hesitation, Ben declared, “I’d ask God why He won’t make Mom and Dad let me have a cell phone!”
“Have you asked God to do that?”
“I prayed and prayed, but they still won’t let me have one.”
“Do your friends have cell phones?”
“Jade has one and Rocky. And my cousin Sam has one,” he responded, a touch of frustration in his voice.
“What grade are they going to be in this year?”
“Jade and Rocky will be in 5th grade, and Sam will be in 1st grade.”
Nannygranne could see why he might be confused.
“My granddaughter just had her 14th birthday and will be starting 9th grade, and her parents just now gave her the first cell phone for her birthday gift.”
Ben dropped his jaw and bugged his eyes. “Are you kidding me? Why did they do that?” He was appalled.
“They said they did it for three reasons. First of all, they wanted her to learn to keep herself safe and to choose to think on good things, and also to learn how not to be controlled by something else.”
Ben looked confused. “I don’t get it.”
“Being safe is about stranger danger. You’ve heard of stranger danger, right?
Ben nodded his head as he picked up his cards.
“A cell phone can be like a tiny window where every stranger in the world can see your face, find out your name, where you live and go to school, and even where you are. Also, it can be a window where your eyes let really scary things into your mind. Sometimes those things give you bad dreams and bad feelings, and it’s hard to get them out. So, cell phones have stranger danger, and it’s safer when you’re older.”
“I did not know that,” Ben replied. “But what about that other stuff? Being controlled?”
“Well, you know how sometimes it’s hard for you to turn off your video games on the TV when Mom asks you to do something else? That’s hard, and you can’t carry your TV around with you. When you have a cell phone, your brain wants to play with it all the time. After a while, many kids forget to play outside, talk to their parents, and stop doing things with other people or anything. Their cell phones just take over. It would be best if you were grown up enough and wise enough to work hard at not letting that happen. When you get to where you can stop playing your video games without Mom having to ask you, you’re getting closer to being grown up enough to have a cell phone.”
Ben ducked his head and grinned. “Ok, Nannygranne. I’m going to work on that.”
“And there is another thing that we need to remember about not just cell phones, but about TV, movies, books, video games, and even things we talk about.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s the part about ‘thinking on good things.’ The Bible says, “And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” What do you think God’s telling us?”
Ben looked thoughtful. “God wants us to think good things?”
“Yes. God wants us to choose what we spend our time thinking about. He wants us to not waste our brains on ugly, mean, or hate-filled things. The internet is mostly that kind of thing. We have to know how to search for good things and wise things and not just read whatever the internet says. We need wisdom. It takes awhile to have that kind of wisdom, so it’s better to be older before getting a cell phone. Does that make sense now?”
Ben’s expression showed that he hated to admit he understood. But eventually, he nodded his head in defeat. “I guess so.”
“You know, Ben, God really did answer your prayer,” Nannygranne said as she laid her hand on his.
“Yes. God answered ‘No.’ He even said ‘No’ to Jesus one time when He prayed. God always does what’s best for us because He loves us and knows everything there is to know. We can trust Him. That always makes me feel better when I have to wait.”
Ben grinned then while mischievously discarding a Wild Draw Four. “Ha HA! I want the color RED!”
And the question was answered. Nannygranne smiled beneath her groan and prayed for all the parents facing this very question that all of them would wisely and bravely lead their babies in God’s way of life.