Today is 1 October – it kicks off a month devoted to “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,” a.k.a. the Mother of God.
If you want to read more about the month, here is a very brief explanation of why this month is devoted to the Virgin Mary – http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1161.
If you remember previous posts I have written, I don’t do well saying the Rosary. I start off strong, with great intentions, and the daily recitation of the Rosary seems to taper off as the time progresses. I have yet to complete a full Lent (just over 40 days) of praying a daily Rosary, although it is a lofty goal almost every Lent.
Therefore, I am going to see how long into October I can go, saying a prayerful Rosary daily. And, I should say – “prayerful” Rosary, with a small toddler running around, saying, “huh?” every time I start a prayer. I know he is hearing the prayers – the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and a few other prayers attached to the Rosary.
Praying with Man Cub at the end of the day has wound up with us resorting to taking “all toys away” and “no books” until after prayers are said each night. Some nights, he calls our bluff and falls asleep sans toys and books and prayers, just to prove he can choose to not pray. He still has to hear Mom say her prayers out loud, though.
And, one night recently, he actually told me, “no iPad until you say your prayers, Mommy!” However, he was refusing to say his prayers that night, until half-way through mine – he ended up not saying “his” prayers per se, but was willing to help me finish mine, which I counted as a win.
I try to stay away from the rote, memorized prayers at Man Cub’s age – he doesn’t understand the big ideas like “…blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” He would understand “fruit,” and “Jesus,” in that whole sentence. And, pretty sure he would then ask about Jesus and a banana. 🙂
Instead, we focus on telling God about Man Cub’s day, and thanking God for whatever Man Cub wants to thank God for – I figure the standard prayers like the Our Father are ones he will slowly pick up throughout years of hearing it, both around the house and at church. We occasionally get him to help sing the Guardian Angel Prayer, thanking his Guardian Angel for keeping him safe throughout the day and night. But, mainly, we focus on the personal relationship with God – the kind of relationship that will lead you to Him with your tears, with your laughter, and with your love.
A couple nights ago, Man Cub was being thoroughly cooperative in saying prayers. He decided to thank God for two of his friends, and then proceeded to tell God that the youngest of the three boys “needs to hide.” Then, Man Cub and his other friend, “would count to 1-2-3-4-5 and go find him upstairs.” He giggled as I made sure I was hearing him correctly. Then, he “taught” his Paw Patrol toy, Rocky, to say Rocky’s prayers – Rocky thanked God for his dump truck and the wheels on the truck, which I thought was a very pragmatic set of prayers. And, I was secretly praying God would see the humor in the prayers He heard from the “mouth of babes” that night – as a friend pointed out, it was probably a relief from other, more serious and heavy prayers God heard that night.
Yesterday, after coming home from a busy morning and early afternoon, I turned on the television as Man Cub was waking from his car-nap. The channel was set to EWTN (the Catholic channel), since I had DVR’d and watched a show earlier in the week, and apparently that was the last time the television had been on! I typically try not to have the television on in the late afternoon, but yesterday was an exception. The show on television was the Animated Rosary for Kids. It led small children through an animated version of the Rosary (if you are praying it the way it is intentioned, there is more to dwell upon than the simple words of the prayers – you actually meditate and think about Scriptural passages and Jesus’ life). What struck me about watching that animated show (a full DVD of the entire Animated Rosary, not just yesterday’s “Mysteries” is available at ewtnonlinecatalogue.com) is the way they structure the Rosary for small children is, instead of focusing on the 10 “Hail Mary’s” per decade, each decade consists of 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be, and the Prayer from Fatima. I thought it was genius to shorten the decade, especially since I have difficulty praying the Rosary. That has made me daunted by the prospect of teaching a full Rosary to my children! And, now I have a trick up my sleeve for when I introduce this prayer technique to my children…
The second striking thing about watching the Animated Rosary for Kids was Man Cub’s response. He was absolutely enthralled by the first 15 minutes of the show!
All this brings me to my closing (more rhetorical than not) question/s – how do you instill prayers and faith into your child? How do you get through prayers when the strong-willed insists (rightfully so) they “no have to,” say their prayers?
I know for us, I refuse to make prayers a power struggle. That said, Man Cub knows the expectations, and if he chooses to not say them, he knows he misses out on his toys and his books on those nights.
And, will you be doing anything to honor the month of October, and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary?