“Mama,” he said. “I can never remember the right words to my prayer.” “I know,” said Mother Bear. “It isn’t important to know the exact words. The important thing is to remember to pray.”
Both girls love this book. Dewberry getting ready for bed gets them ready for bed, and though they laugh at Dewberry’s prayers they really get that they can pray their own thoughts and words, not a rote prayer.
And I love reading it to them. I love doing the voices. Dewberry’s mother is somedays lovingly patient, other days exasperated but ultimately touched by Dewberry’s sweet prayers and questions about God, depending on my own mood, really.
But when Kaitlyn announced several of her friends at school had brought their favorite bedtime books for the teacher to read during carpet time, and that she wanted her teacher to read the class “Goodnight, Dewberry Bear” I have to admit I balked.
She can’t take that. The teacher won’t read that. How do I tell her no?
But then I decided not to tell her no. Oh, I told her the teacher probably wouldn’t get a chance to read the book to the class “because the class gets so busy”. But I let her take it show her teacher; she was just so excited about the book. And because the question of “How do I tell her no?” quickly made me realize the real question is “How could I possibly tell her no?”
How could I squelch her sweet, sincere excitement in her faith? How could I tell her to hide away her faith?
I prepared an out for her to not be hurt when her teacher didn’t read it to the class, but I didn’t say no.
And, you know what? Neither did her teacher.
Kaitlyn told me her teacher read the book before lunch. When we were reading it before bed she told me which parts made her and the class laugh the hardest. She told me her teacher didn’t say “Wait, is that right?” after Dewberry’s mixed up prayers like I do, but that was ok,since it isn’t actually in the book. She told me what she and her friends played when talking about the book later.
Every child in her class heard that God is always with them, they can always talk to go, and they don’t need to know special, magic words to talk to Him. And they heard it because a sweet girl with a sweet faith and a sweetly funny book about a bear getting ready for bed didn’t hear me when I tried to say no.
I wish I had said yes, but the best I can do is say I didn’t say no.
Dewberry Bear teaches the girls they don’t need rote words to pray when talking TO God, I learned from Kaitlyn and Dewberry Bear that you don’t need rote words to talk ABOUT God, either.