This last year as we began homeschooling in our family, we were able to focus on teaching our kids Spanish. My husband served a mission in Paraguay, and uses his Spanish every day at work and home with our kids. I am nowhere close to being able to communicate with others, but I can understand quite a bit.
One thing that we have incorporated into our daily lives, is teaching our kids to pray in Spanish! A couple months ago, my husband challenged my boys to start praying in Spanish. He would guide them and gradually add more words as they mastered others. When they were able to pray all by themselves, without any hints, they received a king sized candy bar.
Can I tell you how much I love it! Here is why……
It helps build their confidence in learning something hard!
Learning something new is always a little intimidating. Whenever my boys recieve a new song to practice in piano, they quickly get frustrated. They practice, and slowly, you start seeing the magic in their eyes! They are accomplishing something hard. Something that seemed impossible at the time. When my husband gave them the challenge to pray in Spanish, they gave us their “gawked” look! You all know the one I’m talking about! Their eyes grow wide, their chin drops! Yep! It usually includes a statement like, “Are you kidding!” or “That is so hard!”. The moment they accomplish something hard, there confidence grows in themselves. They know they can accomplish hard things. It is very rewarding to watch!
It helps build their confidence in speaking in another language.
This is where I struggle! I can understand a lot, but speaking, I am very timid. At first my kids struggled with Spanish words. Now when they say their prayers, even my 4 year old can pronounce a lot of the words correctly. We find them speaking to each other during the day! Praying in front of the family was a big way for them to speak out loud!
Their smile when they say “AMEN” is priceless.
The moment when they know they have said the prayer, without any help, is truly worth it all! Just like above, they accomplished something that was hard. Also, lets not forget the kind sized candy bar!
Their prayer is full of things they are grateful for!
This was really interesting to realize. When they pray in English, they bless a lot of things. In Spanish, they are thankful for a lot of things. They say,
- “I am thankful for my bed!”
- “I am thankful for my stomach.”
- “I am thankful for my shoes”
These are the words they know in Spanish. I think more prayers should be like this! We should be grateful for all things, big and little!
One of my favorite benefits has been….
My boys had to slow down and think about their prayer
This was amazing. We sometimes get in a repeated rut with saying our prayers. This forced our boys to think about who they were talking to, and to slow down and think of the words as they are saying them!
There are so many resources out there to help accomplish this in your homes! Even if no one speaks the language, you can look up words or ask someone who does speak the language. Print it out and place it on your table. Read it as your pray! Make it a fun family activity. It will help make your prayers a little more meaningful. It has been a blessing in our home!