Parenting

Time to pray

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We have a lot going on right now in our family and have a lot of decisions to make (It seems like we always do – is that ever gonna stop?). It’s one of those times in adult life when I have the sudden urge to call my parents and ask them to tell me what to do.

Just the other day I was sitting down for a quickly prepared lunch with our little girl and despite her reaching eagerly for the bread I tried to get her to settle down and fold her hands so I could say a prayer to bless the food. I kept it short and skipped through the words to try to finish before her patience would run out and the silence would end. And it made me wonder why I was doing it and if it really was worth it. Would she understand? Even if I thought prayer was important couldn’t I just wait and teach her when she was big enough to understand why?

I pondered that for a few days. The most obvious reason I guessed was that toddlers pick up on everything and learn from example. In just the last couple of weeks, mine has picked up on new words, brushing her hair out and for some reason she always knows when to wave goodbye even before we do or ask her to. All because she pays attention to everything we do! So obviously, if I want for prayer to be a part of her life, now is probably a good time to show her how to.

But I arrived at another conclusion as well – a maybe less obvious one. And it has to do with the reason that I pray myself. I’m sure there may be plenty of reasonable reasons why one should not pray. But one of my main reasons for kneeling down is the feeling that immediately fills the room when I do. Peace. ‘Peace’ is such a short and easily overlooked word. Let’s just take a minute and really think about what it means – especially in an everyday setting with things to do in every direction. A pleasant warm feeling that pushes out worry and stress. That one feeling that we all go our entire lives searching to keep with us.
And in that atmosphere I can shut the world out for a moment and focus on myself. What I’m grateful for and what I really need help with.

I love the person I become when I pray. I become humble and submissive. It becomes easier for me to forget my faults and my pride. And more than anything the things I think I need but maybe really don’t. It makes me feel kinder and full of love. It makes me want to keep praying. To pray for help so I can keep being that person when I open my eyes, stand up and get back to my day. To have that feeling of peace stay with me.

And to share that feeling with my family. My daughter.

That’s why.

If I can teach her anything in life it will be where to turn for peace.


 

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me. – CS Lewis

The debate on gay marriage makes me worry what this world is coming to

Generally speaking I’ve never really been the kid who was embarrassed by her parents. I’ve never really understood that. I guess I was just blessed with really cool parents. Sure, I’ve disagreed with them once in a while but I’ve always respected them and appreciated their opinion. I’ve even been glad whenever my parents have met and talked with my friends, because someway I felt like that was a way for my friends to get to know me better. Because they were examples of the kind of person I wanted to be.

I do remember a few times in my life when my parents have truly deeply embarrassed me though. Times when all I wanted to do was run as far away as I could from the scene and hide until all was forgotten.

Those moments have all involved my parents losing their tempers with strangers. Whether it was someone who misbehaved in traffic or someone who did not manage to provide the service that was paid for. A complete stranger that I’d never see again. And even if they actually deserved some telling off I still felt deeply mortified that my parents whom I respected and expected to be patient adults could ever just lose it in public. This hasn’t happened often at all, my parents are good, happy and friendly people, which is probably why I remember those moments so clearly.

On Friday last week gay marriage was legalized in the US. To say that that was a historic day is probably an understatement. And thanks to social media news spread like wildfire. Everyone knows and has an opinion about it.

Now almost a week later, I am left with sort of that same feeling I had when my parents got angry. Deep thick embarrassment.

And I’m not talking about other people’s opinions here. Cause what can I do about that really?

I’m talking about the way that grown-ups, adults have been acting publicly (yes, because social media is most definitely public) in this last week. Every single day when I’ve opened Facebook I’ve been bombarded by respectable people chewing one another out for having different opinions. Some of whom I know and some I don’t. And some have popped up in my feed so many times that I wonder if they’ve quit their day jobs to become full-time Facebook-bashers.

I am going to keep my own opinion on the subject of gay marriage out of this post, because it is completely irrelevant. But I will say this, quite frankly I don’t care at all about anyone’s opinion anymore. And I’m not saying I’m against the debate, because I do think it’s healthy and interesting to hear what other people think. And because I realize that I can’t change someone else’s opinion and I would never try to. But if this discussion of opinions has to have this negative of a tone and invite this sort of a negative atmosphere into anyone’s head who happens to open their social media – then can we please stop and consider whether it is really worth it?

Does having a certain opinion and preaching it to the “non-believers” really come first over showing love and respect to others? Shouldn’t we instead realize that we can’t force anyone else to agree and focus on being respectable citizens of our society? at least our Facebook society? Or focus on being better examples to our children? Or especially the younger generation of Facebook-users?

I don’t know – but I do hope that somewhere out there there’s a whole lot of kids who are deeply ashamed of their parents right now. Otherwise, what is this world coming to?