I love little teaching moments with my kids– unscripted, unplanned, unexpected–that just happen in an every day situation.
Croft and I had one of those teaching moments a few weeks back as she was about to get her Kindergarten shots. We were in the doctor’s office just waiting for the nurse to bring in the needles. Of course Croft was scared so I suggested we say a prayer.
Croft wanted me to say it, and she gave me some last minute instructions: “Mom, bless that I don’t have to get the shots and bless that the shots won’t hurt.”
But before I tell you my response to Croft’s plea, let me give you some background to my thinking.
I remember when my husband had major responsibilities at our church, I was overwhelmed. I spent many weekday nights and most Sundays home alone juggling two little kids. He was gone at the church and I was lonely.
It’s not that I didn’t want Chad to be a Bishop, but I just didn’t want to handle parenthood alone. So I was talking to a friend about my situation one day and she counseled me, “Don’t pray for a lighter burden, just pray for a stronger back.” Basically, pray that your back can handle the burden that is placed upon it.
I have thought of these wise words many times over the last 8 years and have had many opportunities to pray for a stronger back and now I had a chance to teach Croft the same principle.
So as little Croft sat staring at me with her teary, big blue eyes asking me to ask God to take the shots away or for it not to hurt, I said, “No, honey, you are getting shots today and they will hurt, but let’s ask God to help you to be brave, to handle the pain, and to feel safe and comforted. ”
I said the prayer asking God to make Croft’s back stronger in little kid terms. (She cut me off towards the end because she heard the doctor coming.)
I am happy to say that God heard our little prayer and gave Croft a stronger back. She made it through her shots without any crying or screaming. I think she even surprised herself. We celebrated her triumph with a little lunch and 2 small toys.
I appreciate that Croft heard this lesson early in life and I know she will most likely need to be reminded many times over– when Kindergarten shots are in the past and real problems are in the room.
I can hear my future voice being honest: “No honey, you did not make the team and it will hurt” or “No, honey, You are having a baby today and it will hurt” or “No, honey, he is not coming back and it will hurt”. But I can also hear my future voice offering hope and guidance: “but let’s ask God to help you to be brave, to handle the pain, and to feel safe and comforted.”
There will be several opportunities to teach her: “Don’t pray for a lighter burden; just pray for a stronger back.”