My children are grappling with God these days, partly because they’re at that age, but largely because we just sent them to church camp for a week, NOT because I wanted to indoctrinate them but because:
a) it got them out of the house for three hours a day
b) it’s a good opportunity to learn some of the Bible stories, foundation of so much Western literature and art, and
c) they have to have something to reject when they turn eighteen.
Camp has had some interesting consequences, however. For starters, the children now wish to say grace, which is lovely. The other day, the six year-old made a charming “thanks for the food speech,” and then the three year-old got on the bandwagon, too, to thank god for dump trucks.
I was horsing around with the three of them, and grabbed my son, which is when my oldest daughter charged me, arms outstretched, fire in her eyes, and cried, “Let my people go!”
“Did you study Moses today?” I asked, setting my son down, and she very proudly nodded. Great. I have a prophet on my hands.
But it’s the middle daughter who’s really gotten into the spirit of the thing. First of all, she informed me, the DEVIL brings bad dreams, but not to worry! All I have to do is say “Hail Mary!” and the devil will disappear. Got that, everyone? (And, in case you’re wondering, I don’t think this is exactly what went down at camp. We attend a really liberal, Episcopalean church, where I’ve never, in all the years I’ve been going there, heard them mention the devil, much less say the Hail Mary.)
But the funniest thing is her new proclivity for praising. She really gets into it, walking around in a bliss-bubble with an electric candle upraised. Nothing and no one is safe. “Praise this house!” she chants. “Praise my brother! Praise these pancakes!” She’s like an old-timey, revivalist preacher. I’m worried she may erect a tent on the front lawn and start saving the neighbors.
So, that’s my life at the moment. Full of gospel tunes. Full of praise, and full of grace for the dump trucks. Bon Vivant!