What Prayer Can Do: The Three Rules of Life

He prayed for a way to convince his grandson to focus less on video games and more on his studies.

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Posted in , Apr 28, 2022

A boy juggles tennis balls

Canon, my grandson, had always been a good student. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and his school switched to re­mote learning. Without any classes in person and with minimal sport practices or games for more than a year, playing video games took over more and more of Canon’s time. Now that things were finally opening back up, his grades were suffering.

“I just don’t know how to get through to him,” his mom told me.

I was worried too. It seemed as if every time I went over, Canon was glued to his computer, headphones on, joystick in hand. He played all kinds of games, and his friends played too, meeting up with him online.

Back before Covid, Canon’s baseball coach had taught the team three rules for a good life: Be a good person, be a good student and be a good athlete—in that order. Canon’s new priority seemed to be something else: being good at video games.

Nancy would know what to do, I thought one afternoon before taking a nap. Since my wife’s death a few years earlier, I’d really missed her advice. She always knew how to handle any situation.

With Nancy gone, I asked God how to help my grandson. As I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes, a word came to me: Juggle.

I woke up with the word still stuck in my mind. It seemed like a hint. Juggle. That gave me an idea.

The next time I went to visit, I sat Canon down for a talk. “Can you juggle three baseballs?” I asked.

Canon laughed. “You know I can.”

“Think of those three baseballs as your coach’s life rules,” I said. “Now there’s a fourth ball—video games. How well can you juggle now?”

Canon frowned, then broke into a grin. “That’s a great visual, Papa,” he said. “I never thought about it that way. I guess I can’t.”

Since that day, Canon’s grades have improved—and so has his juggling.

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