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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bedtime Prayers and Reluctant Spiritual Leadership...

Setting a good example for my children can have its downside.

Several weeks ago, I wrote that one of my Lenten Season commitments was to pray every night with my children before they went to sleep. I actually have been doing pretty well, except for a few nights that I have not been home because of meetings or a night out with my wife.

Wednesday night however, I was just being lazy (one of my many faults).

I put the two little ones into bed and blessed them with holy water, as I do every night, said goodnight and left their room quickly to go watch the second half of the Heat game.  

My older daughter was washing her face and brushing her teeth, as I went into the living room to plop down in front of the TV.

About 10 minutes later, my three-year-old son comes into the living room saying, “Prei-er. Papi, prei-er!” in his little Cuban-accented voice.  He has a very pronounced accent when he speaks English. My wife and I call him our little spic (Derogatory? It's just a joke between us).

Great! I think to myself, just when I got comfortable. I start pulling myself up without using my hands, having to lift my legs for balance so as to not fall backward and almost pulling a muscle in my lower back in the process. It sucks to get old!

I go into the bedroom to pray with the little ones and start, “Thank you, Lord for these Thy gifts, which we’re about to…”

My six-year-old daughter sits up on her bed, “Daddy, you’re saying it wrong!” and starts, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” As you can tell, I didn't have my A-game. I was doing the mealtime prayer instead of the bedtime; my bad.

Halfway through my daughter's prayer, my son starts interrupting, “Mary, Papi, Mary!”

“Shhh!” I tell him as my daughter finishes the prayer and I think, great, now it's going to take even longer.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women…”

I usually have them thank God for our health and family and make individual petitions but not on this night.  This night, the bedtime prayer and Hail Mary were just fine.  I wanted to get back to the game!  Not exactly the luminous example of the spiritual leader of my household that God calls me to be!

I kiss them both goodnight, tuck them in and leave again.

I went back to the living room. However, soon after laying back down in front of the TV, my older daughter comes in to get her blessing and I have to get up again.

Several minutes later, after getting comfortable on the couch again, my younger daughter comes in to complain that I had not given her her blessing.  I told her that I had (it was the first thing I did after putting her to bed) and apparently she got upset.  My wife later tells me, our daughter went into our room crying and saying, "Daddy doesn't want to give me my blessing."   

To top it off, unfortunately the Heat didn't have their A-game either, as they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks at home.  Maybe, I should have spent more time in prayer with my kids...

It is not easy raising Godly children!

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