You know, I know that it's common for teenagers to think that they know everything and their parents know nothing. In fact, I know it from firsthand experience. In moments of extreme frustration with her hardheaded teenage daughter, Mom always exclaimed that one day, I'd realize how smart she actually was. And I scoffed. 'Til I was about, oh, 24, or so. And then Mom got even smarter after I had William. Amazing how that works, eh?
So I figured that one day, William would grow up and dispute every word that comes out of his parents' mouths. I just didn't realize it would happen when he was only two years old.
Inspired by some of our fellow parent-friends from church, we've been trying to say a prayer with him every night before he goes to sleep. We've been a little (okay, a lot) lax about this until recently, but we really are trying. We put him in his crib, and then we all fold our hands and begin a little freelance prayer out loud. It's still a little awkward. I do much better with these things when I write them out beforehand--and I keep wondering if perhaps I should try that next time. But my friend Fran has reminded me in the past that it's okay to pray badly as long as you're actually praying and you're sincere, so maybe I should just keep that in mind instead. So we're working on the routine part and the sincerity parts right now, trying to instill the importance of prayer in our little boy at a young age.
Usually, David or I start with a little riff on "thank you, God, for such a nice day that we had today" and segue over to thanking God for our friends and family and wind up with a "please help William be a good boy tomorrow." To our delight, William agreeably folds his little hands and echoes us. "Dear God," he says, swaying on his knees in his crib, smiling and looking at us to see what happens next. Sometimes he echoes whatever he say next and sometimes he just says a few words and giggles. I think he's catching on, though. He repeats more of what we say each time we try it.
But here's where the premature teenager-ness comes in. Tonight, David led him in a very nice prayer, ending with, yes, "Amen," which David pronounced "aaaa-men" with a long "a" sound. And William popped up on his knees and immediately corrected him. "No, Daddy, it's aaaah-men," he informed his father.
Whoa, where did that come from? David stuttered over this for a few second, finally saying weakly, "William, you can say it either way, you know. They're both correct." Which is true, as far as I know, but who knew our son already had an opinion on ecclesiastical issuses?
Our son, the expert. The two-year-old expert on the proper language for prayer. Perhaps in a former life, he was on the Council of Nicea. Or maybe it's just soome of his preacher-grandaddy genes coming out. Or--and this may be the most likely--he's just growing up to be as opinionated as his parents are. Gulp.