Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sweet idea: a fun way to get your family to pray the Rosary together

It’s been a while since my last post.  The fall months hit us hard, for several reasons, but basically it went like this: the twins had a birthday, there were visits from all the grandparents, I took an online course, and then 5 out of 6 Lynches played virus volleyball with a nasty cold (the husband was spared at least).   

Of course, the other big fall event was Halloween.  Between the town trick-or-treating and parade, a costume party play date, preschool parade, and trick-or-treating in the student dorms (yet another perk of being a faculty kid), it was the never-ending holiday. 

So…candy.  Halloween only starts the quarterly onslaught of sugar inundation for the next six months: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter.  Fortunately I have learned to utilize it all as bribery incentive for good behavior.  Last year the Halloween candy went towards Operation Twin Potty Training.  This year I figured out how to use it for a more spiritual purpose: praying the Rosary together. 

Based on fun suggestion from Catholic All Year, I amended the method slightly.  After each decade, all prayerful participants may eat one piece of candy.  A participant is free to leave at any point during the series of prayers, but then they forfeit the candy.  BOOM.  We got through the entire Rosary without any wiggly children or exhausted parents.  AND there was even at least one child who asked if we could do the same thing tomorrow.

Now before you blame me for having contributed to the childhood obesity problem in this country, let me confess something: I have no idea how to get three littles to sit down (I’m not counting the baby because he is not mobile yet) and recite a series of Hail Mary’s while maintaining some kind of peaceful family harmony.  I don’t see offering one Milk Dud after sitting still and praying ten Hail Mary’s an artificial way to trick my kids into blind religious practice.  On the contrary: this is a way to demonstrate that family prayer time should be a joyful activity, a small yet significant tradition that we do together with great love in our hearts.  

A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. 

And let’s not overlook the fact that my whole family is willfully praying together.  Can I get an Amen?  Before each decade we go around and announce our intentions, and let me tell ya, each one of them is precious.  For the record, the grandparents are getting a lot of prayers on their behalf.... 

Even the most secular educator will give a nod to teaching kids delayed gratification.  To wait patiently, to endure, and to finally receive.  Ever hear of the marshmallow test?  Walter Mischel's study shows that children who can learn impulse control grow up to have better life outcomes. So yeah, I’m OK with offering a few Skittles for the sake of teaching my kids how to prayerfully wait in joyful hope.

My kids are now the ones who ask if we can recite a Rosary together.  Sure, they may just want some of their Halloween candy (and we’ll refill the bucket soon enough…Christmas is just around the corner), but I truly believe that they experience peace and joy when we pray.  Perhaps that’s why they named it the Sweet Rosary.

P.S. The kids came up with the name on their own.  :)

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