What do you do when you hear a siren?
Do you hope your loved ones aren’t involved?
Do you wonder what’s going on?
Does fear clutch your heart?
(If all of the above, by the way, you’re probably female, and live in a small town.)
Do you not even notice a siren because they’re just a part of the tapestry of your city?
My kids start to pray.
And that impacts my faith life each time.
Ever since I was in college and teaching Vacation Bible School, through my time as a Catholic school teacher and now as a mother (the primary teacher of the faith for THREE!), I’ve taught my students and children to pray when an emergency vehicle’s siren sounds. When we hear a siren, we pray either a simple Hail Mary or a short prayer like, “Lord, please help those who are sick or in trouble and the people going to help them.”
My oldest son, a creature of habit through and through, picked up on the routine at a very early age. I feel like he hasn’t missed a siren since he was two years old. Imagine the surprise of people we’re with when the little squirt, not even able to reach the sink to wash his own hands, out of the blue begins the Sign of the Cross and a Hail Mary. I’ve often had to explain what’s going on.
But you know what?
There are some lessons for us adults there.
1. Quit Being Afraid to Show Your Faith in Public
My son (and now my 3-year-old daughter, who has learned as much from her big brother as she has from me) has never worried about who’s listening when he hears a siren. He doesn’t pray quietly under his breath so he doesn’t offend anyone or get a weird look.
He just prays when it’s time.
If anything, he’ll tell other people what they should be doing.
The same thing happens in restaurants at mealtime.
Since I became an adult, I’ve always prayed before every meal. In group settings and restaurants, however, I would usually do the itty-bitty-mini-sign-of-the-cross – if you’re Catholic, you know the one I mean. It looks a little more like you’ve dropped your napkin and are glancing down to find it while scratching your head than an opening to prayer.
Now that I have kids, it’s nothing for a whole table of six or eight of us to pray in a restaurant, out loud in unison, led by the kids. If we forget or let it slide, one of them will remember. When the kids even pray before their plastic food meals in pretend play world, certainly they’re not going to forget the habit of prayer at a real meal.
I’m sure many a person has noticed when we’re out. How many have been inspired in their own faith to see the faith of the children?
2. Pray Always, Obediently
The uber-consistency of the habit of prayer is another lesson to learn.
My kids pray for others and their meals because we’ve taught them to.
They don’t question why we do it.
They don’t ask if it’s really necessary.
They don’t doubt that it will actually work.
They just pray. Because they ought to. And because they believe, quite simply, that it’s important.
Shouldn’t we all be so obedient to God our Father, who tells us to pray constantly and trust in Him?
Even the Baby…
Although Baby Jonathan is only five days old, he’s already impacted the faith of our family.
I of course had the opportunity to offer up my labor, which caused me to pray more consistently and fervently than I have in a long time, reestablishing the habit of moving prayer I used to do so well with.
And when he and I were still in the hospital, my husband tells me, little Leah quite out of nowhere decided she wanted to pray for Mommy and Baby John. She initiated, she led the prayer, and we all benefited.
Let us pray today with St. Therese of Liseux that we may be more childlike in our faith, with courage and abandonment, loving trust in the Father, obedient prayer, and a simple gaze toward Heaven when things go wrong.
How has having children affected your faith? (or how do you expect it to?)
More from the Faith of Our Children Team
I’m proud to team up with other mommy bloggers to emphasize faith and parenting. Check out what they have to say today:
- Smockity Frocks – How the Faith of a Child Affects Our Faith
- The Happy Housewife- Faith Like a Child
- Owlhaven – Faith and Motherhood
- Balancing Beauty and Bedlam – Faith of Our Children
- Mom’s Toolbox – Praying For a Baby Sister
- Amy’s Finer Things – What About MY Faith?
- Parenting Miracles – Learning to Be a Light
See my full disclosure statement here.