Thursday, January 24, 2008

Exposing Secrets

One thing that a parent has to keep in mind is that her children talk, and often to large groups of people.

I recently had to e-mail my son's third-grade teacher to ask a question about his upcoming project, in which he must take on the persona of George Washington and give a speech to the class. In the process of answering me, she wrote, "Oh, and I hope your husband is feeling better. Graham has been praying for his eyes every morning."

I had forgotten, not only that they started the day with prayer time, but that third grade children like to be called on to chat about their family's maladies. My husband had been suffering from some sort of allergic reaction that made his eyes relentlessly red and itchy, even weepy. I had no idea that Graham was sharing this information with his entire class AND with God. :)

In any case, I read the e-mail and felt a moment of fear: what else had Graham prayed for? Did he pray that his mother would lose weight on that diet of hers? Had I mentioned any odd aches or pains to him, or told him I'd be visiting the gynecologist? The horror of having a third grade class praying for a good outcome for my yearly test results did not bear thinking about.

I did recall that, back in first grade, and much to our mortification, Graham had drawn a little list of wishes, which the teacher had hung up for open house; one of them had said "I wish my parents had more money." This was not so much because he had mercenary tendencies, we decided, as because he was so used to hearing us saying "No, we can't take you there, we don't have enough money," Or "No, we can't just buy another car, we don't have enough money." Therefore, his logical little brain determined that we were poor.

Now that I thought about it, I supposed praying for his father's eyes was the least embarrassing of many possible things he could have selected, and of course very sweet. And if anyone's prayers go directly to the ears of God, I think it would be those of these little grade schoolers who send their entreaties with earnest hearts and simple faith.

Still, though, I must warn all parents to be careful. There really are no secrets when a nine-year-old is listening.


Anonymous said...

Good reasons perhaps to take the Bible's admonition to pray in private literally.

Anonymous said...

Recently, our daughter was standing in the crowded checkout line at her local grocery store when her son (our grandson) looked up and announced, "Mommy, we had a prostitute teacher today and she was pretty like you."

I guess not all first graders have learned the word, substitute.

Julia Buckley said...

Good point, Eric. :)

And Lee, that made me laugh right out loud! It reminds me of an elaborate story that I'll have to blog about tomorrow. :)