“You can hate me all you like, but you’re not leaving until your bedroom and bathroom are cleaned!” her mother yelled back at her for the third time, finally having lost her patience.
Why did parents have to be so unreasonable? What difference did it make if her room was tidy or not? “It’s my room!” she barked back.
“All the more reason to keep it in order.”
Becky rolled her eyes.
“How do you ever want to learn respect for your things if you treat them with disrespect?”
Becky shook her head. “You just don’t want me to go!” Every time, she wanted to go away, her mother would have her do one chore or another before she could leave.
“Keep your room tidy and clean, and I won’t have to nag you to do it. It’s called taking responsibility for your things.”
I was sorting through an old file box in my office closet and found some prayers, ones that I had cut out from a newspaper column many years ago. Although dated, I still think they apply as much today as they did back then. The authors of these two wonderful pieces are sadly unknown.
Oh, God, make me a better parent. Help me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say and to respond to their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting and contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. Give me the courage to confess my sins against my children and to ask them for forgiveness when I know I have done wrong. May I not vainly hurt the feelings of my children. Forbid that I should laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame and ridicule for punishment. Reduce the meanness in me. May I cease to nag; and when I am out of sorts, help me Lord to hold my tongue. Bind me to the little errors of my children and help me to see the good things they do. Give me a ready word for honest praise. Help me treat my children as those of their own age. Let me not expect from them the judgment of adults. Allow me not to rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves, to think, to choose, and to make their own decisions. Forbid that I should ever punish them for selfish satisfaction. May I gran them all their wishes and are reasonable and have the courage always to withhold a privilege that I know will do them harm. Make me fair and just, considerate and companionable, so they will have genuine esteem for me. Help me to be loved and imitated by my children, Oh, God. Give me calm, poise, and self-control.
A Prayer for Kids
God in heaven, I am young and don’t understand what it is like to be a parent, but it must be very hard because so many people are failing at it these days. I pray for mom and dad, God, that you will help them to be good parents, strong in the ways you want them to be, so I can look up to them with admiration and feel confident that their instruction is right. Help me, dear Lord, to understand my parents. Remind me that when I don’t get my way it is because they love me and not because they want to be mean or deprive me of anything. Help me, God, when I become stubborn and refuse to listen, to accept the fact that they have wisdom and experience because they were once teen-agers, but I have never been a parent. Put in my heart the respect and consideration they deserve for their years of hard work and sacrifice. They raised me the best way they knew how. Let me now repay them with no grief or shame, rather help me to give them obedience, respect, forgiveness, and love. Help me to appreciate my parents!