“Fold or hold?”
When Jack was but an infant laying next to us as we pegged prayer to our Breakfast/Morning Circle time, he began hearing this simple question and, then, witnessing his older siblings exercise their power to choose whether they wanted to offer a mealtime blessing while introspectively folding their own hands in front of themselves or holding one another’s hands in a circle of love.
One night last month, Jack made his response to the question very clear before it was even asked.
As Daddy filled water glasses and I transferred food from stovetop pots to serving dishes, Nina and Luke fingered appetizers. Not Jack. He piped up with an eager noise and held his hands out intently. His smile was as wide as his arms were as they reached to hold his sibling’s hands during a mealtime blessing.
At that moment, it struck me: The simple ritual of our pre-grace question had given our youngest child a way to communicate his desire to pray. Even though Jack has mastered only a few spoken words as of yet, that night he began asking the rest of us to join him in prayer.
It seems that the Lord took the tool of “Fold or Hold”, that I began using a few years ago at mealtime to offer Luke and Nina some choice an ownership regarding grace, and morphed it into a way for our virtually speech-less Jack to have a “voice” at mealtimes.
The amazing ways He magnifies our simple efforts never cease to amaze me.
If you have a regular opportunity to pray alongside young children, whether it be at mealtimes or another time, I encourage you to try the Fold or Hold strategy. As you do so, who knows how He will transform the experience.
I would like to thank readers who have patiently waited for over a month this series to begin again after my recent computer break down and would also like to Elaine, at Commotion from the Ocean of Life and Elisa, at Tercets, for linking up with the last Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children.