At work I’m surrounded by a great group of Catholics. I love listening to the techniques employed by many of them in raising their children over the years. Plus, working with Father Rocky gives me an opportunity to listen to him speak. He has a particular talk where he encourages praying the rosary with your family. Even saying it is a great event to do with even the youngest of children. Although, recalling his words, it can be a “full contact” rosary with young children. The first time I heard him say those words. I thought, “That seems a little exaggerated. I’m sure if my time to be a dad ever happens it won’t be like that.”
Boy was he right and I wrong on that one. I have to admit being around an active 3 year old will keep me young well beyond my years. And going to Sunday mass has often become, to borrow Fr. Rocky’s words, a “full contact” sport.
I’m not complaining. I’m just realizing that the perfect dad isn’t the one that is comparable to Ward Cleaver. He is more like…well…a gifted verbal juggler. And sometimes a full on juggler. For my 3-year old daughter and myself, the verbal exchanges just keep coming. Plus, I keep getting reminders how even the most quiet of actions are always being recorded by a 3-year old mind.
We haven’t started praying rosaries with her yet. But we started from almost day one doing smaller prayers like the bedtime prayer, the prayer before meals, and the Guardian Angel prayer.
A 1 or 2-year old is easily distracted and that has caused me to occasionally reword a prayer. For instance if our 3-year old starts eating prior to everyone else sitting down I may reword the phrase, “which we are about to recieve” to, “which she is already eating/scarfing/inhailing”.
But the nighttime is sometimes “accidentally misworded” by me in order to distract her, get her to giggle, and refocus so we can say it correctly. The correct one we pray goes like this:
“Now I lay me,
Down to sleep,
I pray the Lord,
My soul to keep.
Guide me safely,
through the night.
Wake me with,
the morning light.
Well, when she is distracted, or not really ready to pray yet I may start her off with:
“Now I lay me,
Down to sleep.
A bag of peanuts/big ol’ pizza,
At my feet.”
The giggling usually starts followed by her saying, “That’s NOT how you pray it. Do it like this….”
Then she prays it the way we know.
A few nights ago I got up after going through out nighttime routine and a dresser drawer was left open just a little bit and I banged by foot against it. I only grumbled a little bit to myself and walked out of the room. (For those of you who really know me, you would be proud. No loud yell. No foul words. Literally just a grumble to myself and that was it.) I didn’t even think our 3-year old heard me. I was wrong.
The other night, my influence was heard by my wife. She went in to do nighttime prayer with our daughter. Our 3-year old improvidsed the following prayer. I think you will see my influences clearly.
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
A big ol’ pizza at my feet.
Guide me safely through the night.
Because a drawer is in my way. Amen.”
I wasn’t in the room to hear this lovely prayer. But I’m pretty certain the neighbors could hear my wife and daughter roaring with laughter followed by the real prayer.
I’m not sure my word substitutions would be given a Fr. Rocky stamp of approval, but I think my daughter watching out for our feet sure gets my approval.
And it is really important that I remember I’m being watched and listened too much more than I realize.
Just learning and living the #dadlife everyday.