Many say that they are trying to raise a child, but my husband and I routinely say that we are trying to raise a person. Our goal is not to have an 18 year old that is still dependent on us, but a person ready to make it in the world on their own. Granted as a mom you kind of want to be needed, but at the end of the day I want my daughter to be able to stand on her own two feet. Faith is something that has been very important to my husband and I, and nurturing our daughter in her Christian Faith is part of raising a person for us. We’re not always sure that we have it right, but last night gave us a glimmer that we might be on the right track.
I’ll share more about what happened last night shortly, but here are some of the things we do to raise our daughter in our faith. As I’ve shared before, we do our best to make it to church each week, and keep her in worship with us. There are weeks that she may drive us crazy with how chatty and wiggly she can be, but that’s also expected for her. We always make sure to bring a variety of toys or quiet activities to keep her entertained and step out of the sanctuary when she gets to be too noisy. Thankfully we can still hear the service in the parlor or hallway outside the sanctuary, so we don’t feel like we’re missing out on too much. No matter how noise our little girl may have been, we always make it back into the sanctuary for communion, as that’s become one of her favorite parts of the service. Slowly but surely she is understanding the rhythm of the service and applying what she understands. Just the other week I noticed that she had bowed her head when the pastor said it was time for the prayer for confession. She didn’t know that this was a prayer she could keep her eyes open for, but she did what she understood she should do for a prayer. Another thing that we do to help grow our daughter’s faith is making prayer a daily part of our life. We have a long established bedtime routine that begins with a story, is followed by a prayer, and ends with a song and kisses. Now that VHP is talking, she helps to name whom or what she would like to pray about. Most nights her cousin and friends from school are top of the list, along with other family member, and mommy and daddy are rarely left off. Sometimes we get some interesting additions, like the potty or swim class. No matter the prayer requests she names, we honor them and add them to the list. It’s been really cute to see how the list has grown over the months, and to hear what matters to her from one day to the next.
Last night we had my mother-in-law over to celebrate her birthday with a special dinner. Like many meals, but especially birthday dinner, we began the meal with prayer. We asked VHP if she’d like to do the prayer and she said yes. I started with the usual “Dear God,” and here is what she said:
Thank you [for] LKG.
Thank you [for] Meghan.
Thank you [for] Jason.
LKG is her cousin, Meghan is her aunt, and Jason is her uncle. I was stunned. My little girl at the mere age of two had said her first prayer on her own, and the first person she wanted to pray for was her cousin. Not to be forgotten was her aunt and uncle.
We may not be perfect at this parenting thing. I might not be perfect at teaching her all things I want about being a Christian. But I think we may be onto something with prayer.