Last week, I was in the doctor’s office with a sick kid. My son had a HIGH fever, so he was not acting like himself. I knew he was sick because he was cuddled up in my lap as opposed to exploring everything around us. With his fever-flushed head on my chest, I found myself singing to him.
May the road rise with you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you,
In the hollow of his hand.
The Irish Blessing just well, came out of me, ready to comfort him. This sweet fever-flushed boy swayed a bit as I sang. My grandmother was proud of our Irish (and Scottish) heritage, and had multiple copies of this blessing all over her home. However, I don’t remember her ever singing it to me. I learned to sing it by listening to an album of camp songs given to me by a dear friend when I was pregnant with my first child. I learned several of the songs on that album by heart, mostly to incorporate a bit of variety into the songs I sang while putting him to bed as an infant. Imagine my surprise when it came out of my mouth 5 years later in the doctor’s office. I hadn’t sung it in years.
What songs do you sing to comfort yourself or the children in your care?
I’ve been wondering, so began asking this question to dear friends, family, and church people alike. Most people, I learned, have something as their go-to song. Amazing Grace for example, is quite popular. I also learned that many people have a story similar to mine, when they surprised themselves at what song came out of their mouth while comforting a child.
Let’s think about this for a moment.
If you do have a go-to song for comfort, do you like the message it conveys to your child?
For example, I like the messages of the Irish Blessing and Amazing Grace, and I’m glad those are songs I sing to my children. On the other hand, there is “You are my sunshine.” A beautiful song no doubt, one I have fond memories of my grandmother singing to me. But when I dig into the lyrics, it’s not a song I really want to sing to my children, being that it’s about one lover leaving another.
If you do not have a go-to song, what song would convey your faith and values? What songs do you want to pass on to the children you love, so that they are able to comfort themselves in times of need?
If you are still looking for a family Lenten project, perhaps you might consider creating a list of songs you’d like to teach your family, and learn them this Lent.
“Those who sing pray twice” (attributed to Saint Augustine but likely a paraphrase) is often said throughout our churches. I know this is true of my own faith journey – sometimes I find myself singing before I have the words for my prayers.
I want to encourage each of us to think about the songs we have choices over.
What songs do we want to pass down to the children in our lives?
What songs, prayers and traditions do we want to share with children now that could become the song from their heart 30 years into the future?
[Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay,
Lyric Credit: Public Domain]
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