Seriously, you’ve only been breathing air for 15 months — how is it possible that you’re constantly knocking me down a peg?
This was the thought rolling through my head as my little toddler stared up at me with his impossibly blue eyes, hands folded before him in patient expectation.
Allow me to back up a bit.
It was the morning of my last MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting and my son and I were running around trying to get ready. Well, I was running around. B was inspecting the back of a DVD case as if it contained the answers to all of life’s questions. Once I got myself together, I proceeded to chase B around the room in an attempt to wrestle him into his raincoat. After several minutes of enduring B’s signature “crocodile death roll,” I emerged victorious (and slightly out of breath) and opened the front door.
Oh yes. We were going to be on time. Sweet.
“Come on, fella, let’s go!” I said as I hoisted B’s bag onto my shoulders.
I turned around to see what the holdup was and found B glued to the same spot I’d left him, coat zipped up to his chin, chubby hands folded in front of him. Waiting.
Classic B prayer stance.
A few months ago B started picking up on folding his hands in prayer at mealtimes and before bed. Within the last few weeks he’s starting saying, “Gah!” whenever we tell him it’s time to talk to God. Yeah, it’s pretty cute. And here he was, requesting to talk to “Gah.”
At a kind of inconvenient time.
I glanced at the clock on my phone. We needed to go. Breakfast casserole and adult conversation were waiting for me.
Don’t judge me for this next sentence. But I came this close to kneeling down and saying, “It’s not praying time right now, B. We’ll pray at lunch. Come on, let’s go!”
And so here we arrive at the moment where I’m wondering how such a tiny person can can give me such a healthy dose of humility by simply folding his hands.
But before my rush-rush-rush mentality took over, a gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit led me to stop. Put visions of breakfast casserole on hold. And kneel in front of my son.
“That’s a great idea. Let’s talk to God before we leave. We can talk to God anytime.” We prayed for our safety while driving in the rain and thanked God for the chance to see our friends. And then just like that B was waddling toward the door, on to the next thing.
As we drove toward MOPS and toward breakfast casserole, I couldn’t stop thinking about the exchange. And then 1 Thessalonians 5:17 came to mind: “Pray continuously.”
How closely I had come to teaching B that, actually, prayer is only a “sometimes” thing. Not really an “all the time” thing.
And wouldn’t you know it, the speaker that morning at MOPS talked about teaching our children a biblical worldview through not only our words, but also our actions.
Lest you think I’m being overly dramatic, just hear me out — I’m not trying to say that if I’d rushed B out the door without praying it would be the start of his path toward a wayward, Christianity-renouncing life. No, nothing so severe.
But I also know that B (and all children) pick up on things a lot quicker and earlier than we realize. And I was humbled that morning by the fact that, whether intentional or not, I could easily be teaching B that some things (like rushing out the door or delicious breakfast casserole) are more important than connection with God.
These days with B are flying by, and I know (despite my constant denial) that he’ll be grown and gone before I can blink (keep it together, Mary, keep it together…).
Oh how easily the to-do lists, play dates, events, and self-importance take precedence in my mind and heart over the things that truly matter.
May I never be uninterruptible or “too busy” to pray with my son and teach him about the things of eternal value.
…No matter how much breakfast casserole is at stake.
Here’s to learning how to make disciples — one blue-eyed toddler at a time.