Praying As A Parent
November 23, 2020
Filed In: Fatherhood
For nearly three years, I’ve done most of my shopping via pickup. From time to time, though, I need to go into the store to make a return. Doing that with four kids plus the item to be returned is no easy task. One night last week, with the kids in their pajamas and ready for bed, I left the house to run some errands.
I had six stops to make, and within 90 minutes, I was at home on the couch watching television with Alison and Veronica. I moved with precision and efficiency from store to store. Having four kids in the back while we pick up orders from multiple stores is no big deal. When making returns, it’s easier for me to go it alone.
My life is like that for many tasks. I can move quicker without little hands following behind me. I can sort laundry in half the time and only have to fold it once. I can get the dishes put away without a single dropped glass or bumped knee. While it may be easier or faster for me to work alone, I shouldn't.
It used to be that the kids wouldn’t be ready to come down from their rooms in the morning until 8:00am. These days, they’re ready to go at 6:30am. Those 90 minutes that I used to be spent in prayer or reading the news are now theirs. Why should I give up my prayer time?
My primary prayer is the monthly edition of Maginificat. The work is all planned out for me, all I need to do is find the time to sit down, open the book, and be still. While I love the solitude of morning prayer, praying with children is joyful and satisfying, too.
The wonderful thing about children is that their minds are alert when they’re at play. If they’re moving around, they’re listening and learning. Here’s my new plan: wake up, go for my walk, and get ready for my day. Then, with the littles rolling around on the carpet in the playroom, I’ll brew my coffee, sit down on the couch, and pray out loud. It won’t be as peaceful, but it will be as beautiful.
Parenting, like gardening, isn’t about efficiency. It’s about patience. The daily work of pruning ensures that my little saplings have all the nurturing and attention that they need. Nothing nurtures a child’s heart like being taught how to pray.