What do you want to say to God?

“Papa, I forget my prayer lines!” exclaimed my son.  The feeling of little disappointment can be sense from his voice.  And I rushed to his rescue, immediately.

IMG_20170522_114900

A child needs to be taught how to pray.  I teach my children few prayer lines, which I thought, would instill the practice, and make it easier for them beginners.  Bed time, morning, and mealtime provided suitable time for such practices.

“Dear, don’t get upset,” I said to encourage him in his learning.  It is a good feeling when a child wanted to say a prayer by themselves.

In the meantime, questions like: Why do I need to pray? Is God really watching… needed to be answer sincerely and carefully.

“What will I do if I forget my lines again?” he asked.

“Son, you won’t forget again. However, if it happens again think about what you wanted to say to God.”

His eyes shone bright in excitement!

So I continued, “Because, in reality, you are talking to God when you pray.  If you are happy, say thank you to God.  If you are upset, let it be known to God.  If you want something you didn’t have  yet, you tell Him.  Then, if it’s necessary for you, God will give you.  So, say something at the least.”

“Oh! I’ll keep that in my mind next time,” said my son who now looks really excited.  And he really did it.  I’ve seen him.

Again, I asked him, “What do you want to say to God?”  The answers seem to be unending.  For a child, who did not know what to say to God a few minutes back, he was now flooded with his so many ‘thank yous’ as well as his request for himself and others he cared for.

During His time here on earth, Jesus Christ taught disciples how to pray.1 It makes me believed that one needed to be taught how to pray, especially for beginners in life and  spiritual new born.  More importantly, it is the heart which really matters than what we expressed, we are also told.

We are so blessed that we can pray anytime, anywhere, and whenever we need His presence.   God is omnipotent and preeminent, and we knew that, although there are some people who didn’t accept it.

Sometimes, being an adult human in the ‘groaning’ planet, it is difficult to get into the mood for praying.  I don’t feel connected.  The feeling of being unconnected, mostly, is because I had focus too much on myself or due to an astonishing lack of discernment.

However, in that particular time and place, I needed prayer the most.  In those moments, your priceless act of concern by praying for me will set me free.   There is no such thing as insurmountable problem in the eyes of God.

So, whether you are happy or unhappy, let me urge you to say something to God.  For your one act of random kindness by prayer will work wonders for you and for others as well.

1. Matthew 6:9-13 (The Lord’s Prayer)

Reflection of me

‘Now you look like a real Mister’, echoed my son in the back of the room.  I was dressing up for the day.

By this time, I knew someone was always watching my behavior.  What comes from my mouth and what I did are going to have impact on my child.

Parenting was not an easy task.  There is no certain written code, for success, in the program.  While they are young they learn more from what they heard or seen.  They did not have that processing needed for filtering as of now.

It seems we are playing the game of ‘copycats’, if there is such a game ever.  In reality, it is not a game.  I am the main role model for my child at the moment.  I am happy with that.  In the meantime, it is time for me to guide in choosing a role model outside the house, for now and when they grow up.

Which book to pick up first in the morning, they knew already.  How did Daddy start his day?  You ask your little ones, they will have the answers.

Sometimes I think children are the reflection of us, at least before they become intoxicated with the outside world.  So it is important to act thoughtfully, which was rather much easier said than done.

Although studies do not show most of the bad behavior of the child does not reflected from their parents, it is worth a try.

Superhero – an enticing characters

We love something extraordinary, just a larger than life figure, it seems.  Adult and children are equally left bewildered about such characters.  In today’s world, it is another craze of our generation.  It is a good thing to help in understanding the heroes.

Superman, Spiderman, Batman… to kid’s Yokai, you name it.  Characters are countless.  Every distinct culture must have their own characters or myth, which are larger than life.  By the way, we all are fascinated by such stories and character.

I still remember the day I introduced such type of character to my children during our ‘story time’.  The name was Samson-the strongest person recorded in the Bible.  My kids are mesmerized by the story as I was narrating.  Each short pause in the narration was waited by anxious faces.  They have seen much cartoon characters and superheroes movies but not a natural power, who don’t need extra catalyst to incite his power.  It was different.

There is a secret to Samson’s power.  His hair should not be cut.  A razor must not touch his head.  As an adult, Samson’s strength allowed him to tear apart a lion with his bare hands and to defeat many of their enemies* with supernatural acts of strength.  There comes Delilah, the harlot, who was used by the enemy to subdue him.  Samson falls on the beauty of Delilah.  They captured him, cut off his tresses, and was blinded.

After a time, the enemies chose to bring Samson out of prison to make sport of him.  He was brought into the arena during a festival where about 3,000 men and women were in attendance.

Samson repented and begged forgiveness before his God, and also to renew his strength.  God did approve his prayer.  He renewed his strength but not his eyesight.  He died there with many of his enemies.   That’s to it.  He died there amongst his enemies beaucse he despise his purpose.

My children have so many questions to ask regarding this ‘very strong man’.   Would he be stronger than Hulk or Spiderman or Superman….and so on.  Parents, who have experience their curiosity level, will know clearly.  “Can we be as strong as him, if we didn’t cut our hair?”  The reply was, “I don’t think so, No”   But that’s the joy of telling a story to children.

Even in our young ages, we already have a craze for something larger than life.  Although for kids, it is to have control over their friends, to be the boss.  It is not a wonder that the so-called Power Blocs of developed countries are vying for making armaments, which could subdue the poorer countries.  I agree, it does give them huge interest in the political arena.  For man, that is the largest thing they can achieve in a life time.

Now coming back to our Superhero(s), I personally appreciate when they included the famous line, “With great power come great responsibilities”, in the Superhero movies.  It does teach us many things.  Although there is no such thing as Superhero, except for Samson.

It is a good way of teaching the children about responsibilities and the fruit of sin.

*Philistines, the enemy of the Israelites at that time. (Judges 16)

Fallen Leaf

Fallen_leaf

We were strolling in the park nearby with my little ones.  A cool breeze was blowing unexpectedly in the evening.  Scorching heat of the sun was experienced throughout the day.  By the way, it might rain tomorrow.

Few days ago, my children came home from school.  He said, “Daddy, I bring some home work for you. ”  The assignment was to make symbolic bird’s nest for school activity.   It was indeed homework for parents as Pre-school children are not able to do nothing on their own.

Now, here in the park, we were searching for dry twigs and fallen leaves to make a symbolic bird’s nest for my children. My son refused to pick up some fallen leaves.  He told me that they were too new and looks so good to be picked up play with.  I told him that we need to pick them up as they cannot be put back in the branches.  “Oh!” he sighed.

While we were still under those trees, few leaves fall on the ground.  So my son was wondering, “Why are they falling down when they can be used by the tree?”

“The wind was blowing hard so they can’t stand the force,” I replied.

So we picked up the leaves, even the new leaves.  After all, they are fallen.  They are dead.

The process of photosynthesis was explained in its simplest terms.  And we talked about trees.  The importance of trees for clean air was reiterated.  Being responsible in our role and to live in harmony during our short span of life was also told.

The leaves, after they fell, are unable to perform their duties.  I told my children, “They did not travel.  They did not change places.  But still they have their given role.  They worked to sustain the life of the tree, where they grew.  They worked together responsibly.”

“When they move, they move together.  They did not complaint each other.  The green leaves look bright and happy, always.  They are shining because they are happy.”  I continued.

Yes, it might be simple and boring for adults.  But for children, they are in learning mode so they get attracted and learned the lessons in simple things too.  Many times, our life span was compared to the flowers, which dried up in the evening.

By now you must have known the reason I told this simple activity.  Living together responsibly and harmoniously is one among the essence of life.

You will always be mine

As a parent, I am not averse to mild physical punishment of children at home.  But it can be avoided or better still if it’s not necessary at all.  I hope we have our own view regarding it.  We can defend our own views too.  In that way, it depends on the one who use it and who don’t use it.

Years ago, I, unwillingly, had to administered the rod of discipline on my son for the first time.  All the negotiations had failed.  I had already told him if he didn’t abide with the authority (here the father i.e. me), physical punishment may ensue.

The case:  Playing time was over.  He demanded more.  It was time for just 10-15 minutes of learning.  He did not comply.  The authority was challenged.  If the authority can be surpassed every time, it’d had no meaning to its existence.  My son pleaded the wrong way, with crying and throwing the toys.  It was time to do something.

All possible efforts were done to let him know what he did was just wrong.  That is, to remain calm.  It was impossible to condone the situation.  So I administered what was promised, just two times.  He submitted himself right away.

I took him in my arms and held him tight.  We say prayer for forgiveness and ask God to help us in the future.  We acknowledge Him to be our witness.  And that, He bless our effort to be good and inculcate wisdom in the right way.  By the time we finished our prayer, we both said “Amen” in agreement.

My son said, “Papa, sorry!  I will be a good boy…” Tears of happiness ensued.  I gently rubbed his pain with my hands so that the pain might ease soon.   At the same time, I am comforting him.  Assuring him, whether good or bad he will always be mine.  I will always love him.  I also reminded him it was out of love, and it won’t happen again unless otherwise needed.   In a moment, both of us became happy.

By the way, we all need to know there is a higher authority in the society and in the world.  Those who can outrun authority from childhood are a menace to the society.  By the time they grow up, none can teach them the right way.  They cannot live responsibly in the realm of the society.  They have power within them, they thought.

It’s just that we needed to react in time.  Love can sometimes be painful though!

Dear son, I love you more.  You will always be mine!

*(This is written based on my journal some years ago.)

Nurturing young minds

They were playing with their toys.  Enacting stories to the best effort they can achieve.  The elder would perform monologue when he feels like.  The younger appreciated the effort of her brother.  Laughter and cheering filled the room.  It is the ideal atmosphere every family would dream of.

The words spoken were pure, coming straight from the heart.  There is no sign of manipulating any situation created so that one might gain edge over the other.   Two kids enjoying their time with the few toys they had.  When they need to use rude words, I enquired where they heard the words.  It was from us parents or from outside the house.  They learned from what they saw and heard.

I hardly interfere while they were playing.  Since becoming a stay-at-home dad, I had the privilege of watching nearby them.  Whenever they needed an extra person for role-playing, I’d dropped in.  I served, mostly, as their quick dictionary or adviser the whole time.  It was worth the wait and the watch.  I feel like saying, folks don’t grow up.  The world is full of evil minds.  But I cannot do that either.

Many thoughts came to my mind; before they became intoxicated with the real world full of crooks.  The phrase, ‘Grow up! Get a life!’ was used many times, to the honest and kind-at-heart kids, who are not willing to get adapted to the cruel world.  Can you imagine what the world has become?  Our kids are at risk whenever they step out of the house.  Worst still, some are at a greater risk at home.

What have the human heart become?  What goes wrong?  Oh my!  There are so many things to tell.  Give the kids their own space. Nurturing and caring them to illuminate their innate being to create better societal values may lead to more peaceful surroundings, mind you.  The more we become old the more our minds get corrupted with evil thought.

By teaching them the way of life, sometimes I feel, we are simply imbibing the ideals of a cruel world.  ‘You know son, when you go out you should be careful not to talk to any stranger’ was a common piece of advice we gave them.  ‘They are not good people, avoid them as you can’.  We taught them so that in the least they can help us in safeguarding them.  That’s our duty.  But on the flip side, we are teaching them bad things that can be done.  You might not agree here.  I did not fully agree though.  But I wanted to emphasize on the condition of the world we lived in.

Had the minds been still pure as they did in our younger days, the world would be full of laughter and happiness.  Still we can something starting from our home to change the world.  Nurture the young minds to live up to their mind.  Bringing up children, if taken seriously, was a big challenge.  To bring up a peace-loving and harmonious mind in today’s world would be a huge challenge.  Still then, our best should be tried.

There are a tremendous amount of good things to learn from children.  Corrupted minds and corrupted thoughts should learn lessons from the young minds.  But who would do that!  We don’t have time for others, nor do we try to learn that costs nothing.

Special Time; Story Time at Home

story

It was mostly quiet at this time of the day.  For most of the city slickers, it is time to take rest just after having their lunch.  My children were done with their assigned work.  It was calm, and the wind was lazy, just before taking their noon time nap, it was story time for us.

“Papa, tell us a story,” they demanded .  Our special time is about to begin.

They would settle down into their favorite place, or should I say, ‘our story place’ of the house facing the trees.  I’d gather them around my arms and hold them together to narrate stories, which I hope would have morals in their life.  I have the chance to pick the genre of stories, but not always.

For a Dad, who was no more working, it was always special to be able to spend precious time with my children.  Most of the time, stories told by my Dad and Granddad, in my younger days were retold.  It was a time to inculcate knowledge about the reality of life to the young minds.

Relatively important topics like; why people die? Why is my sister a female? Why not all humans are male? and the likes, were covered in these times.  It was always a special moment in a day.

Why did Mommy need to work?  This needed to be answered many times.  Most of the times, my kids get emotional, and, I feel, draw closer to me.  But what is more important is to tell them the importance of what Mommy is doing for them.  Balancing act needed to be done cautiously.

One thing that made me happy was their eagerness to learn and knows the life stories of Jesus Christ.  After every short stories or topic-wise discussion, came up the demand for at least a brief incident in the life of Jesus.  That always ended up with me enacting the implications of what has been told.

This small practice, simply, many times reminded me of the sharpness of young minds.  How the world has changed the mind of people and the impact of technology on their minds, which I will later discuss here, can be seen.

It makes life worth living.  Happiness can be seen from small things in life rather than the much-anticipated or highly-rated social events.