I've been thinking lately about the profound things that my son says and does, and the ways we as parents get to guide him, but also learn. It's pretty fun. I don't always think of these things as profound at the time. I need to reflect more so I don't miss anything!
This one wasn't so profound, but it was funny. Today E and I were playing with his barn and animals, and he said something about how the cow was eating meat. I said, "The cow IS meat!" He gave me a blank look. (Since I'm a vegetarian he's only recently been introduced to the world of meat.) I said, "That's what they make hamburgers out of." He then waxed eloquent for a minute about how it's sad that they kill cows who don't want to be made into hamburgers, and isn't it sad, Mama? I said, "Well, I guess so...I mean, I don't eat meat because I don't like to kill animals, and other reasons..." He said, "Well, God wants us to trust him that it's OK to eat meat" (he's only 3 and already calls God "him," although he didn't learn it from his daddy or me!), "so you should trust God."
The more profound thing is thinking about what it means to pray. My F/friend Aj wrote a post here about her kids praying, and it got me thinking about E and prayer. Over a year ago I posted on our family blog about when he first wanted to pray out loud. Since then he hasn't really shown much interest in prayer.
Usually at meals he doesn't want to hold our hands to pray, and he doesn't really want to participate. Yesterday at lunch he held hands with us, but then in the middle of the prayer he leaned down and started eating hands-free, licking peanuts off his plate.
One time when he was at my grandparents' place having lunch, my cousin happened to be there. Later my cousin told me, "E wouldn't pray with us, and he said, 'Mama doesn't make me pray!' I told him I seriously doubted that!" I said, "Well, I don't make him pray--I mean, I want him to be respectful when others are praying, but he doesn't have to pray." "Are you serious?" my cousin asked. "Yeah, well, if I force him to pray, it's not really praying, is it?"
One time he told me he doesn't want to pray until he's bigger and knows what to say. I try to reassure him that he doesn't have to have the right words, and he doesn't have to worry about what to say. He doesn't even have to say anything, he can pray in his head, or just think about God.
But E really wants us to pray with him at bedtime. Maybe it's similar to Aj's kids, who just want to prolong the time before they have to go to sleep--and sometimes that's definitely it, but who can resist a kid who's asking to pray with you? But even though he doesn't want to pray out loud, it's important to him. He asks every night for us to pray with him. The other night he wanted me to pray, and I asked if he'd pray for me, because we were both sick with colds. I told him he didn't have to pray out loud. So I prayed for him, and then asked if he'd pray for me. "I already did, Mama, while you were praying."