Thank You For

The bedtime routine in our house has shifted as our children have grown and our family has expanded. Once upon a time when we were a family of one infant boy our bedtime routine was a mixture of bath time, infant massage, and reading.

Bath times have become a lot less frequent in our house, some weeks it seems like we are bathing the kids just enough that they don’t smell. And two out of three of our kids are well past the infant massage stage. But as our children have grown we have added another aspect to our bedtime routine, prayer.

We wanted to avoid some cliche children’s prayers like;

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning’s light.

or

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
Bless me Lord my soul to take

Instead we taught Simeon and Ariella a very simple thank you prayer;

Dear God,

Thank you for; Mommy, Daddy, Simeon/Ariella, Asher, Olivia (our dog), for our family, our friends, our home, our church, our daycare/school, for Jesus. I love you. Help me be good. Amen.

I admit it lacks poetry, but a good rhyme was not the goal. Our goal is to get the kids used to thanking God for all of the blessings we have in our lives.

For the most part Simeon stays on script. He will at times abandon all of the people in his prayer and thank God for Mario, and or other toys. Which is fine. Because again the goal is not to teach them this prayer but to get them used to seeing blessings and thanking God for them.

Ariella on the other hand has really mastered the lesson of saying thank you. She says thank you for EVERYTHING. She of course says thank you for her family and friends but she doesn’t stop there. One night she said thank you for; each of the rungs on her crib, for every toy she could see, and for some stuff shoved in her closet. But she didn’t stop there either she also said thank you for; her boogers, her time out, her ouchie knee and for her ouchie bum.

Her list of ‘thank yous’ can vary quite a lot. But she never fails to include something that I would not think to thank God for. Some of the things she says thank you for are not even good things, like her runny nose, the scrape on her knee, for getting in trouble, or for her diaper rash.

I know at age 2 she is not making profound decisions in being thankful for both the good and the bad in her life. The mischief in her eyes tells me she is just prolonging bedtime.

Yet each night Ariella finds something to say thank you for that if I were experiencing it I would not do the same. This has challenged me to think about the things in my life that I consider bad. When I really stop to think about it even during my most stressful moments, or in the midst of crisis’ there are I still have so much I could,and should say thank you for.

This is one of my favorite things about having children. The more I try to teach them the more I learn and grow myself. My children have been some of my best teachers.

Thank You

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