Alex praying

Happy Moments…Praise God, Difficult Moments…Seek God.

Quiet Moments…Worship God, Painful Moments…Trust God.

Every Moment…Thank God. ~Author Unknown

As we back out of the driveway each weekday for school at 7:15am it’s mad chaos. You’ll hear typical morning arguments between siblings or the panicked voice of a kid who forgot their lunchbox, homework or one shoe. You’ll hear the “too-cool” teen who woke up on the wrong side of the bed and is annoyed by anything and everything her brothers’ say or do. You might catch a snide remark or two from the middle child but lately he’s decided not to talk to anyone on the morning car ride because he knows he won’t have anything positive to say because he’d rather be in bed. And you can’t miss the little guy who is my bubbly, could care less, no worries, be happy kind of kid who really gets on everyone’s nerves as he belts out random Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars tunes from the backseat.

As you can imagine, the 15 minute car ride to school five days a week can get draining, for all four of us. You’re probably sitting there thinking, “I can relate. You are not alone!” So early on I decided we needed a morning ritual for the dreaded drive, something to calm all of our nerves and put us in the right frame of mind to start our day.

Thinking back, I think it was my youngest who was in PK at the time who actually came up with the idea, so I can’t really take credit for this one. He had gotten tired of the arguing one morning and piped up from the back and said, “Why is everybody yelling? We love each other and we’re a family, you’re all hurting my ears.” From that moment on I knew I had to do something.

So I asked my son what he thought we should do. He responded, “Maybe we should pray.” We’d never really prayed before as a family other than at church or at bedtime, or if we remembered before dinner. But we decided to give it a shot. At first we said the typical prayers we all knew. The kids took turns leading and asked for “special intentions” at the end. Not only was it quiet for once in the car, but the kids were hearing things they didn’t know about each other. They started asking for help with their struggles, guidance with their challenges and strength for their fears. Had this small daily ritual actually brought them closer?

Reality check…they’re still kids. Suddenly I found them rushing through the prayers to get to the intentions to ask for an “A” on a math test, to win the soccer game, or to get nominated for school office. I was guilty too, asking for things, and forgetting to be thankful.

This morning inspired me to share this quote and our story. Today was one of those days where the kids were asking for everything. They were asking for help to get good grades this week, to win the middle school tournament game, and to make the week go by fast so we’re that much closer to the school’s fall festival. I let them finish then said, “Maybe it would be nice for us to stop asking God for things and actually thank him. Just thank him. Not make any requests at all today. Just tell him we’re thankful for all our blessings.”

Blank stares, silent car.

I continued on my motherly rant, because, why not? No one’s stopping me.

You should be thankful because…You are healthy, for now. You are happy, today. You are loved, very much. You have gifts and talents, where many children do not. You are smart, without much struggle. You are beautiful, inside and out, even if you don’t think you are. You are blessed, you are fortunate, you are loved. So yeah, you do need to be more grateful and stop focusing on the things that don’t really matter in life. So what if you have good grades, win every game or become the most popular kid in your class? All of those things don’t matter if you’re sick, alone, disabled, poor, burdened, or miserable. So be thankful, for all of life’s blessings today and every day. Never take for granted what might not be there tomorrow.

Still quiet in the car.

Middle child finally pipes up. “So does this mean that we can’t ask for things in prayer from now or can we say a couple things we’re thankful for and then ask for something we need?”

Sure son. Whatever you want to do is fine with me.

That’s what I get for trying to teach a life lesson. I should have known.


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