While rummaging about in my archives I found this piece I wrote before Bella was born about praying the rosary with children. Interesting how my attitudes have not really shifted. I think I’d have written almost the same words today as I did then.
praying with kids
Ian at Musings from a Catholic Bookstore has a great post on praying the rosary with children. And asks a tough question: does this count as prayer?
I posted a response there, but wanted to re-post it here. I’ve been thinking about the topic of praying with children quite a bit recently. Danielle Bean also had a good post on managing small children at mass and, of course, about to embark on the great adventure that is parenting, Dom and I have talked more than once about the vocation of parenting and about how we want to raise our children in the faith.
We�re still waiting for kid #1 to be born� any day now! But we�ve prayed family rosaries with my husband�s brother�s family (six kids) and his sister�s family (three kids all under age six) and what you describe sounds pretty familiar. While I have a hard time concentrating and don�t find those prayer times particularly helpful for meditation, I think they are in other ways even more valuable than the time I spend praying the rosary by myself or the time spent praying the liturgy of the hours. Praying with children helps me to remember that we are all called to become like children. I remember first that prayer is not primarily about me and how I feel and my state of mind� after all St Therese had years of dry prayer when she was in a dark night of the soul. It seems to me part of a parent�s vocation is to sacrifice some of that feeling of closeness to God in meditative prayer as we live out our vocation to lead our children to Christ. So we don�t get to meditate on the rosary the way we used to, we don�t get to hear the whole homily, we have to leave mass to change a diaper or take a child to the bathroom, or calm a screaming baby� but the thing is in doing all those things we are following God�s call for us to let our children come to him.
And how many times in the gospel does Jesus seek out solitude to pray only to be beseiged by his followers? They always seemed to be able to find him just when he most wanted to have a little peace. But he was always patient with them when they interrupted his personal time with the Father. He never turned them away.
So yeah, I think having the amazing saintly patience to pray with our children, especially when they seem uncontrollable, to take them to mass every week and to teach them about God� That�s what God calls us to do as parents. And that�s what I�m counting on to get me to heaven.
Indeed what I could not foresee then is the amazing fruits which praying with my children has born in my spiritual life. So often now they lead me to prayer instead of vice-versa. They show me how to become like a little child so that I may enter the Kingdom.