I love Sunday. Aside from the chance to recharge my spiritual batteries (which take horrific poundings during election season), it gives me an opportunity to observe my family from a different perspective. Also, once meetings are done, I don't necessarily have to lift a finger.
We belong to a church that encourages lay participation. In fact, the entire program of the Church is staffed by volunteers with varying levels of ability, talent, and desire. It is a highly participatory religion. Kids are encouraged from preschool age to give prayers and talks in their meetings, which can be, if memory serves, a terrifying experience.
My girls, bless their hearts, are painfully shy. They get this from their Mommy and - wouldn't you know it? - my Mommy. The over-large porcine skeletal remnant (read: ham bone) I know they've inherited from me hasn't kicked in just yet. Outside of the house, at any rate. Around people they only see once a week or less, they clam up faster than Kerry does when asked for a press conference.
This morning was a prime example. My younger daughter, age (nearly) five, had been asked to give a prayer in Sharing Time this morning. All week long, Mommy and I had been asking her if she was ready to give the prayer. "Uh huh!" was her generally enthusiastic response. So, predictably, as we got closer to the Moment of Truth this morning, she became our Little Cling-On. I sensed what was happening when, about halfway through Sacrament Meeting, she disappeared from my side and latched herself onto Mommy using her Kindergarten Death Grip. As soon as the meeting was over, we ascertained that her giving a prayer this morning was about as likely as Kerry ever revealing his actual plan for anything before the election. (Note how I cleverly intersperse political ranting even while writing an allegedly family-oriented post!)
Here's the neat part, though. My seven-and-a-half year old daughter is every bit as lion-hearted as her sister. We asked her if she would be willing to fill in for her sister and say the prayer. She agreed, if Daddy would help.
It was one of those chest-swelling parental moments when you realize that your children, goofy as they are, will turn out all right. Petrified as she undoubtedly was, my older daughter was willing to help her sister, for which her sister bestowed upon her a very large teary-eyed hug.
As it turned out, they ended up asking another child in my younger daughter's class to fill the assignment, so my older girl was spared as well. But I made sure I whispered to her that Daddy was very proud of her, and what a good girl she was. Maybe she'll remember that when Daddy starts asking her politely but firmly to turn down that noise you call music! But that probably won't happen on Sunday.
The Minneapolis effect
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