As the heart and soul of most religious actions is to avoid contention, we created a system in which the Wees are each given an opportunity to lead the prayer equally. Much like the electoral college it seldom reflects the will of the constituency, but it attempts to keep chaos from breaking out each time we break bread.
As is taught in our faith, it is not only praying often which is important, but how one prays is critical too. We have been teaching the Wees about reverence - though Heavenly Father is always listening I have a feeling he is tempted to be less attentive when one is jumping on a trampoline, playing a Ninetendo DS or doing the hooky poky during prayer.
We begin each prayer by reminding the Wees to fold their arms, bow their heads and close their eyes. Wee 2 has a really difficult time with that last part. As the mother, I of course retain peeking privileges to make sure the Wees are doing what they should and I am fairly sure I have never peeked when Bella's eyes were actually closed.
Having her eyes open is really not that serious, what is of concern is how distracted she becomes when they are opened. A prayer to bless dinner all of the sudden becomes a National Geographic narration on the squirrels mating in the trees out the window or her voice simply drifts off into nothingness mid-thought as her eyes are reminded of the dessert on the cake plate.
Attempting to get to the bottom of why she won't shut her peepers I asked Bella why that was so difficult for her. Her response "I don't like closing my eyes, because it is dark when your eyes are closed"
Hmmm ... that's true and for a 5 year old I can get the whole fear of the dark thing. I then pointed out that when she sleeps her eyes are closed.
Bella then looked at me with a shocked expression and queried, "Mommy, why do you think I hate going to bed? I don't like the dark part of going to bed so that is way I need stories, songs and as you say ANOTHER DRINK OF WATER?!"
After this enlightening exchange Bella and I set a new goal for reverence during prayer. I let her know she could keep her eyes opened if she could stay focused. Early poll results show her improving in sitting still and being quiet, but it appears she is now afraid to blink.
A wee bit penitent,