Can you prayers, mama?

I’m not a particularly religious person, catholic upbringing with Sunday school and first communion then I quit before I was confirmed. I hated the religious instruction, mostly because I would rather be doing homework or reading (nerd alert!) than acting out weird morality plays or reciting random dogma. I never got confirmed because I got my mom on a loophole. She said I had to go until 8th grade and my class was the year they switched confirmation to 10th grade. Plus, I think she was sick of having to drive me or arrange rides.

When we enrolled Spencer in preschool, we chose one affiliated with a Presbyterian church. We chose it for a few reasons, one being it was fairly inexpensive and another being I actually went to this preschool, but I didn’t think too much about the religious aspects of it. I was startled by the prayer at parent orientation and resigned to the fact I would have to attend chapel once a month.

After a few weeks, Spence was chatting in the car and he mentioned that he liked “mama, daddy and jesus,” and it didn’t really come up again. And I’m a big softie so a chapel full of 2 to 5-year-olds singing/signing Jesus Loves Me won me over in an instant. I can even accept the fact the the kids get (slightly creepy) glow-in-the-dark crosses for their birthday presents.

And then tonight in the bath, he said “thank you god mumble mumble help me do the things I should.” I asked what he said and he said it was pray. I asked “prayer?” He replied, “yes, prayer snack.” My best toddler translation guide makes me think that they say a little prayer before snack. He did go to school today. But, then he said it.

“Can you prayers, mama?”

I told him that I didn’t know the words and asked him to please teach me. He mumbled a few things and then started pronouncing should in a bunch of funny ways and cracking both of us up. Shood. Shuuud. Shoouud. Then he moved on to robots. He is a toddler after all.

All of this got me thinking about where I stand on the whole jesus-prayers-god thing. I want him to feel consistency and I do want him to fit in with school, but is he going to think it is weird that he only prays at snack time? I don’t mind the songs; when I was desperate in the car the other week, I sang every verse of that Rise and Shine and Give God Your Glory, Glory song that I could remember. And then sang them again. And again. I feel like 2.25 is a little young to have a god talk, I just want to plan for the future. Maybe we should do goodnight prayers? I really have no idea.

Can you prayers, mama?

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4 Responses to “Can you prayers, mama?”

  1. Brigid Keely says:

    This is something we’re struggling with as well. I was raised Catholic, a human sect that has an appalling history when it comes to civil rights and respects toward people who aren’t able bodied, heterosexual, cissexual, men. My faith was very important to me when I was younger, as was the sense of community I felt, and I miss that… but I am at odds with a lot of official Church teachings. My husband is Eastern Orthodox but rarely goes to church. To him/his family it’s more cultural than religious. I’ve gone from a huge amount of religious participation to none and I don’t know what’s best for us OR for our kid. I don’t think people need religion to be moral, or to be good. But I know how often I personally drew strength from organized religion and religious leaders and peers… while also knowing how often I was treated as a second class citizen because of my gender.


    Amy Reply:

    My husband and I are pretty sure that we don’t want to raise Spencer Catholic (we went to the same church growing up) and never had him christened or baptized. I just don’t know how/if we want to incorporate religion into our lives and was not expecting to have to think about it this early. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


  2. Kimberly says:

    We started doing goodnight prayers about a month ago. We don’t say a set prayer- we just wing it every night. Right now, it’s one more thing JD has learned will prolong the bedtime routine (he’s initiating it at nap time lately too), but it’s a great opportunity to reinforce thankfulness, reflection, & asking for help. And it’s adorable.


    Amy Reply:

    That’s a good idea. I normally ask him about the favorite part of his day (with mixed results) maybe we should start talking about what he is thankful for instead.


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