I am praying mommy…

My 3,5 daughter, sitting in her car seat, after I picked her up from school: “I miss my dad mommy.” I told her to keep praying so that God will give her dad a job here too. She responded with a sad but determined face:  “I am praying mommy, but it’s taking too long.”

The thing is she REALLY is praying to God. And often! I had never thought that such a small child would have this kind of a relationsip with “God” or have a notion of prayer. I just did not envision it. But once again, my “experimentation” with my daughter suprised me! I say experimentation because, literally, I AM experimenting with parenting for it is all new ground for me, as I think is the case with most parents.

Looking back at how she developed this strong sense of prayer, asking “God” (which she still refers to in unusual ways sometimes since she does not have a firm grasp of this abstract concept- well do we?) for things – and in this case, something that she so desperately yearns for, I realize that the phrase ‘they are like sponges’ could not have been truer for kids. They ARE sponges. They are blank slates. Well, yes they come with a package/program/personality, but I see their unique personalities as the background tone of an empty paper. They are pink, yellow, green but empty papers nonetheless.

Every time this topic came up (when she said she misses her dad, cries when we drop him at the airport, keeps asking why he has to leave…etc.), both me and my husband responded with nothing but optimism, acknowledging her feelings and then encouraging her to pray to God to resolve/alleviate the situation. Hence, this is the response she learned for this kind of a situation: when there is something you are upset about, it is appropriate to pray about it. So that’s what she does.

We do not abuse this though. In other words, we do not tell her to pray for a toy, or just anything, if we do not intend on carrying through with it. We have only brought this up in this particular situation. I feel that without understanding the complexity of human free-will and the infinite other things that are out of our control, she might get too confused or develop a crooked sense of when, how, why you pray and God’s response to prayer. So I would not use “oh just pray to God and He will give it to you” kind of a misrepresentation of what prayer is all about, to divert her nagging or demanding something from me.

I am a big advocate of treating kids with respect and dignity and trusting that they are quite logical and reasoning little humans. They understand much more that we give them credit for. And: if we feed them baby-knowledge, we retard their development. If we give them adult-reasoning in a simplified form, they grow into that level of thinking and reasoning before we know it…

So, the bottom line for me is: she is still praying in such a pure and sweet way, in the most unexpected times, in her own cute world…

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