And then you realize they are pedaling on their own

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We try to say prayers as a family every night. It’s part of our bedtime routine with the kids and I love the time together–the four of us in either my son or daughter’s room, usually on the floor, the lights out, and the craziness of the day settled, for the moment.

I love hearing the things my kids pray for and the way it gives me a glimpse into their hearts.

And I’ve realized something lately.

Praying with them has helped them to learn to pray on their own.

The other night, after the kids had gone to bed, my daughter came back downstairs to get a glass of water.

After she filled her glass, she walked over to me and gave me a hug.

She held on for a little while.

And before she let go, she whispered,

“Dear Lord, Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and my brother.”

It was one of those mom-moments where you’re caught off-guard in the sweetest way.

And it was such a neat thing to see something we do regularly with our kids become something my daughter did on her own.

Her youth pastor talked about this in a parent meeting not too long ago. He gave an analogy that I loved, saying that raising a child is a lot like teaching them to ride a bike. For a while you run behind them, pushing them and holding on tight.

And at some point, you start to let go.

Slowly.

Tentatively.

You might even run beside them, your hands on the handlebars or the back of the seat, just in case, hoping they’ll remember what you’ve taught them about balance, and putting on the breaks, and watching where they’re going.

And then…

you realize they are pedaling on their own.

Sure, they’ll fall every now and then.

And you’ll need to be there to dust them off and maybe kiss a scraped elbow or two.

But it’s an awesome feeling to see them ride.

Whether it’s something like praying on their own, cleaning up after themselves, or reaching out to others, it’s rewarding when you see the things you’re trying to pass on to your kids become part of who they are and what they do.

It’s heart-warming to see them care about others and their world, not because you tell them to, but because they really care.

And it’s a beautiful thing to have your ten-year-old daughter whisper prayers of thanks in your ear. :)