Friday, July 20, 2012

Family prayer and a little Distraction

             We’ve have been praying the rosary together as a family for years now.  When we started, our oldest child was about 10 years old, our youngest only about 3.  Since the kids were so young, we started with only one decade a night, right after dinner, before anyone left the table.   You can read more about those early days here.  Our youngest (despite his episode with the scissors) was really pretty good about respecting our prayer time.  He was quiet and rarely disrupted our rosary.  

            Some things have not changed over the years.  We still pray the rosary every night as a family.  We still do it right after dinner.  Our son, who used to be the youngest, is still relatively quiet and respectful during the prayers.   

            Some things have changed though…. now we retreat to the family room for our prayers because instead of only one decade we pray the whole rosary.  And, our youngest son lost his place as the baby of the family when we welcomed his little sister.  She is now almost three years old.  And she is a very different toddler than he was.  

Maybe that is why she has responded very differently than he did to our family rosary.  Maybe it’s because it takes a bit longer to pray the whole thing than it did to pray only one decade.   Maybe it’s because she can’t stand that we are all focused on God and not her.  But where her brother would play quietly by himself or would wander off to his room to check out his toys while we prayed, she has decided that rosary time is prime time for showing off.   

As soon as we bow our heads, she starts up her antics.  It is like she is a performer in a three ring circus, running from one ring to another trying to top herself with everything she does.   She usually focuses on distracting her siblings because they are the easiest to lead astray.  She will tickle their feet, say silly things to them, and try switching rosaries with them until everyone has a different one than they started with.  She will turn somersaults, shove toys in their faces, and tug pillows out from behind them.  When all else fails, she will announce loudly that she has to go potty.

Last night Tim decided enough was enough.  He declared, before we even started praying, that no one was to pay the little one any attention whatsoever.  He commanded that we all IGNORE her no matter what adorable or obnoxious thing she did.  She listened as carefully as everyone else to the decree.  

And so we prayed.

Knowing it would get her nowhere; she abandoned her siblings and instead set her sights on distracting mommy and daddy.  First, she started by sitting at Tim’s feet and acting silly, tickling his toes and showing him her cutest smile.  He fought, with all he had, the temptation to laugh or even smile.  He averted his eyes and continued praying.  So she gave up and came to me.  Now ordinarily, I am the only one who can truly ignore her and focus completely on my prayers.  I simply close my eyes, set my mind to the mysteries, and pretend there is no rambunctious toddler in the room.  It is no longer even a struggle for me.  But, of course, last night, after Tim’s emphatic command to ignore her, I found it hard to do so.  I knew I needed to set the example, both to my youngest and to my other children as well.  She, of course, knew all that too.  

So up she climbed onto my lap.  She rubbed my arms and smiled her sweet not-at-all-innocent smile at me.  I tried to ignore.  She moved closer, trying to hug me around my rosary.  I tried and tried to ignore.  Finally, she pulled out the big guns.  She looked right into my eyes (that would just not cooperate and stay closed) and said over and over, “Mommy, I luff you.  Mommy, I luff you.”  Despite my herculean efforts, I smiled and faltered in my prayers.  She took that as a good sign and kept it up, “Mommy, I luff you so, so, so, so, so, so, so much.”  By then I was hiding my face behind a pillow, as much to hide my laughs from her, as to block her chubby little cheeks and triumphant little smile from my view.  The pillow did no good.  She knew she had won.  I did my best to regain my composure as she climbed down from my lap and resumed her normal rosary position in the center of the room for all to see.  The rest of us struggled through our prayers while she acted out, just like every other night. 
I can only hope that our prayers still count, that we still receive graces from them, and that God has as big a sense of humor as my two year old does….


  1. Of course your prayers still count. God watches, and smiles, and blesses your whole family.

    God bless.

  2. Victor- I hope you are right! So much of the beauty of the rosary is in the meditation on the mysteries and that is all but lost when praying with children. Sometimes it is hard to feel like we are "getting anywhere" in our prayers, but I guess that is when we rely on our faith and believe in the graces though we cannot see or feel them.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your reassurance that God is pleased with our efforts. :)

    Blessings, Kari

  3. I am putting together a book with the working titles "Adventures with the Rosary"
    I would like to talk with you about including this post. Please contact me at

  4. I am putting together a book with the working titles "Adventures with the Rosary"
    I would like to talk with you about including this post. Please contact me at



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