A funny story….
My dad and mom taught us to say a morning prayer out in the driveway of our home on good old “704”, our home, before we walked to our Catholic School which was a little more than a mile away. (When I looked this prayer up I did not know it was also a hymn and had a few more lines in it than we were taught… and I just love this prayer/hymn )…

I have continued this tradition of morning prayers with my daughter’s two children, first with Eevie and now also with Damon. We say the prayer in my truck as we are driving from their house to mine, on the one or two days a week they spend with me while their mom and dad are both working.

I am grateful for this time with them and they are grateful for this time with me so it makes sense to start our day off with gratitude for this opportunity. The kids have learned a lot of the words of the prayer and in the end we say AMEN.

I just realized that Damon thinks we are saying DAMON instead of AMEN and he says that part very loudly with a huge smile on his face.

I think it is so funny and cute that he inserts his name in every prayer, even when we say grace at the table.
The grace we say is one Eevie came up with…
“Dear God, thank you for this food, I love you AMEN”(and he says DAMON lol)

Now that Eevie has started school I have stressed to her that it is important that she still remember to pray and to be thankful for the yummy lunch her mom makes for her every day. At first she seemed hesitant to want to do so because she thinks she cannot do anything without the permission of the teacher but I reminded her that she does not have to ask anyone’s permission to pray before her lunch and her mom agreed with me.

We had this conversation during a dinner at this wonderful Italian restaurant in Tomball when Eevie was telling us about a game her classmate in kindergarten was playing. She said to her brother Damon, “One two three RED-LIGHT” and when Damon moved she pretended to shoot him with a gun.

I told her that her friend Gabby is not playing the game the right way because in RED-LIGHT, the kids who move, go back to the start of the line and nobody is shot. She then explained to me that Gabby’s version of the game is called “Squid Red-light”.

Apparently this kindergarten “game” originated with the show “Squid games”. I have seen the beginning of Squid Games and I decided not watch any more and not fill my mind with such NOT uplifting images such as portrayed in that movie series, of hopelessness, addiction, fear, anger and lust. It highlights all the darkest and worst traits in humanity but that is not the humanity I know or want to believe in. Just like the morning prayer, I lift my heart to God on high, that he in all I do or say, will keep me free from harm today”.

I find it concerning that this child in kindergarten has apparently watched that show and is teaching that “game” to other children and I told Eevie that her parents probably did not supervise her or know she was watching it, and she should teach her friend the RIGHT way to play that Red-light game. She agreed with me for which I am grateful. I always talk to children and give them credit for having an opinion and use active “debate” to help with confusing or difficult subject matter instead of demanding they think like I do.

The show, I learned, comes from South Korea and is “Top rated” at Netflix (which tells us that the ratings do not mean a show is necessarily any good but perhaps that it is “mesmerizing”). My daughter thinks that because of the pandemic, people have become so desensitized to fear that they “need” to watch something even more shocking to be able to react. YIKES.

I think, because of the pandemic, people need to recognize how fear played a huge part in many “protocols”, not science, and that desensitizing society to LEGITIMATE dangers and OVERLY sensitizing them to obscure or potential dangers does not benefit anyone ESPECIALLY when governments are responsible for such protocols.

Trusting God is how I have been able to stay grounded, uplifted, unafraid and rational. This is what I want Eevie to learn, NOT that she has to ask permission to pray or that she should pretend to shoot people who do not get the game right, or that she should “be afraid” if the government says she should “be afraid”. I asked her if she WANTED people to die (pass on is the word she understands) just because they could not play a game right and she said no. God does not punish people who are unafraid, and God does not pay people who ARE afraid or reward them because they have succumbed to fear based tactics. It does say in the bible “be not afraid” does it not?

Kids reacting differently to a virtual world then they would in the real world without understanding the connection of these electronic images to their beliefs and behaviors is not any kind of education for them. That is why I think it is important for kids to be able to interact PRIMARILY with OTHER KIDS like people in communities always have.

There is research that says that kids USED to find interactions with computers anxiety producing, and that was back in the day when the “normal” was to interact mostly with other kids. Now research says that kids find interactions with OTHER KIDS “anxiety producing” because the new NORMAL is to interact with computers???? To heck with “the new normal”!

How does an electronic education benefit children when it causes them to find other children threatening or anxiety producing?

The show originated in South Korea, and Damon was adopted from South Korea at great expense and effort by my daughter and her son, because they had a vision of giving a child who needed them, a home. As opposed to a dark and dehumanizing show which is inserting itself into the lives of children here, I like how Damon is inserting himself, an innocent and joyful child, into prayers, where he can expect to feel uplifted, peaceful and secure. There is no anxiety in prayer, there are only solutions.

Damon finds joy in playing with cars and trains, reading books and he is learning to write his own name. Just yesterday he wanted me to show him how to write, “mommy I like her” on a card for his mom.

“Mommy I like her”

Kids need to know that their are other motivations for desirable behavior other than FEAR. Fear or punishment as a motivation is exploited already by government and I think it is not helping people at all. I think fear can often be explained to children using the acronym of “false evidence appearing real”. Children will in fact do things we WANT them to do with POSITIVE reinforcement which is a much better way.

People get paychecks, do they not, and that paycheck is a positive reinforcement for working hard and doing a job worth doing. But a paycheck should not be a payment for agreeing to BE AFRAID because then it is not a reward it is a bribe. Fear and punishment MAY motivate people in the short term, but those behaviors, brought about by bribery, will not endure because they are self destructing.

Most people respond well to the positive reinforcement of a paycheck for work well done and children are no different and will eventually be living a a world where they are expected to make useful contributions and can be rewarded for these contributions. It is good to start rewarding them early in life so they can have a more success as they grow.

Children can be taught about good behavior with simple rewards such as hugs, praise, small treats and privileges. As they learn how good it feels to have good behavior, that behavior will become self reinforcing or natural. But we should remember to give that praise and hugs and treats to help our children to learn to choose GOOD behavior and avoid punishment.

I have also taught Eevie and Damon along with their parents, that remembering to say prayers like the morning prayer and giving thanks, also brings many “rewards that are sometimes “lovely intangibles”” (as described in The Miracle on 34th Street), and that prayers bring “blessings” and many good things to them.

Trusting God, just like our currency claims we do… “in God we trust”… is a worthy foundation for an education that will benefit children, our communities and our countries. Nothing less will do.

Prayer in schools is not forgotten, and we as parents can make sure our children are remembering to pray and express gratitude and they can even insert their names in prayers, even if their name does not sound like “AMEN”. Damon? =)



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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.