And then you realize they are pedaling on their own

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.



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. :)


  1. You so encourage me! Our bed-time ritual has slacked since our move. It seems like it has been a process like a stitch here, a tweak there to get everything back to "normal." You were a tweak in the right direction for me.BTW, my oldest son thanked me while he was in college and engaged for "Independence with Training Wheels." Those training wheels are all about action, not lectures. Excellent point!

  2. Only a little…I've wanted to pray together with the kids, but so far it's a harried event. LOL The other night my middle son said prayer for the food by himself. I was pleasantly surprised because that's the only time so far my guys have wanted to do it by themselves. :-) I hope in the future that they'll settle down so we can all pray together.

  3. What a beautiful story and analogy. Our bedtime prayers have slacked recently and I'm not sure why. Probably because most of the time our kids go to bed at different times. That's what happens when the oldest is almost 11 and the little one is six. Your post has encouraged me to find a time that works and make it happen. THANKS!Peace to your day!

  4. I have to get my tissues BEFORE I read these Genny!!! Wow you are a gifted writer. And this one is beyond touching!!Love to you!Amanda

  5. This is a beautiful and wise post. I'm sad that I can't come up with an example of my kids 'pedaling on their own'. I'm sure they do but I can't think of anything specific :(

  6. Thanks for chiming in, everyone! Jessica, I remember when our nightly routine was a little crazier than it is now. It does get easier as they get older, except maybe juggling different bedtimes like Jeanine. Mine are close in age, so that makes it easier. :)

  7. You have such warm, heartfelt posts, Genny. I love the way you take simple life events and turn them into opportunities to learn, grow, or to just be thankful. One of the best feelings is seeing your kids thrive as adults. I've got two who are beautiful, productive women out in the world. I'm so proud of what they've done with their lives. I still stand behind the bike…when they need me to though.

  8. Your family seems so sweet and sincere. I really enjoy reading about them.We've had a (sort of) similar experience here lately. My four-year-old says the same prayer every night. It's all about God keeping her safe in the dark and watching over her while she sleeps, etc. We say it together and then sometimes I hear her whispering it to herself as I'm leaving the room. I think it's lovely to hear her comfort herself in that way, too. It's like a gift–for both of us.

  9. I love seeing my kids start to pedal on their own but sometimes I don't want them to. I want to hold on to their childhood and not let go. Such a beautiful story about your daughter. We also say a family prayer each night and it really is a special, unifing act.

  10. I didn't link up, but this is such a BEAUTIFUL and truly touching post. Thank you for writing it.

  11. Glad you found my blog and thanks for stopping by! (And I realize daily that my boys are starting to pedal on their own – makes me happy and sad at the same time!).Tamara

  12. What a fun thing you are doing here! I will write myself a post it to try and remember next week : )You are so pretty. You better get in front of the camera sometimes, OK? : )

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