A simple lesson learned from a child Print
Gifts for Your Soul
Thursday, Mar. 06, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Gifts for Your Soul column by Jacqueline von Zwehl

As a parent, one of my favorite rituals is the evening story time routine with my two girls. They are four and two years old, and sometimes getting them to quiet down takes a few prayers. With patience, they always settle down and look forward to story time as much as I do.

After they’re both in their pajamas, each of them is allowed to pick one book and one story in their Bible. We read the books first and then the two Bible stories.

It amazes me which stories the girls seem to love most and which ones they don’t seem to identify with yet. We’ll talk about the bible stories and I’ll do my best to explain God’s lesson in a way they can understand.

‘Thank you God’ prayers

Our final ritual of the evening before going to sleep is our prayers. My four year old, Josephine, who attends Catholic school, is always eager to show off the new prayers she’s learning.

My two year old, Victoria, likes to mimic her. We’ve gotten into a habit of simply saying our “Thank you God” prayers . . . Each of the girls will rattle off everything she’s thankful for to God.

Josephine’s list usually consists of the sun, the moon, the rainbows, the ocean, and the stars. She will eventually name all the members of our family, her teachers, and friends at school. Victoria simply says thank you for mommy and daddy.

One night, as we finished our “Thank you God” prayer, I said goodnight to the girls and proceeded to turn off the lights. Josephine immediately yelled at me, “Mom, you forgot the most important part of the prayer. Thank you God for sending us Jesus!” Victoria always needs to get the last word in and followed up with, “Oh and thank you for Mary, too!”

That night my daughters taught me something important. The simplest and greatest joy in the world is to simply remember how much God loves us. Now, like rehearsed actors in a play, when we each finish saying our own unique “thank you prayer” for the day, Josephine will always end with thanking God for Jesus and Victoria gets the thank you credit for Mary.

Gift for Your Soul

Today’s Gift for Your Soul — As adults we sometimes tend to complicate things. We read Scripture, attend Mass, and learn through articles printed in the media. We’re always looking for some deep, profound mystery or secret to be revealed through the Word.

These are all excellent practices designed to teach us one simple truth. Everything always comes back to love. Children don’t need to be taught how to love, they just seem to know it. Let’s practice the simple faith and gratitude of a child. Add to your daily prayers, “God, thank you for sending me Jesus and Mary.”


Jacqueline von Zwehl is the nation’s leading faith-based relationship and love expert and award winning author. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), has a BFA from NYU, and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline has appeared on national TV and radio programs across the country. The Prayer, A Love Story is her award winning debut book. To learn more visit: www.jackievonzwehl.com