Saturday, February 26, 2011

Singing to My Daughter

I've sung a lot of lullabyes. I used to sing to the Richard twins when they'd go down for their nap, and then to all the Richard kids at night. When I went on vacation with them, I'd sing to the whole family, in the car, or at night. I sang to Zoe in a tent during thunderstorms at girl's camp in Tennessee (Zoe has Down Syndrome and is a great camper--unless there's thunderstorms), and to a cabin full of 12-13 yr old girls at girl's camp in New Hampshire. I sang to my girls when I was a youth camp leader in Tennessee and Pennsylvania. And now I sing to my first daughter.

I varied the selection, singing different songs for 12-year-old Delaney than for 5-year-olds Gage and Wyatt, but I always stuck to religious songs when it came to bed-time songs. During the day I'd sing folk songs, or pop songs, or put on some dance music; but at night I sang the most comforting songs I could think of, which were always those that spoke about Christ and hope for eternal things.

I realized the other night, as I was on the third verse of "I Am a Child of God" for the fourth or fifth time that day, that I have sung that song more than any other. It's not because it's my favorite--I've actually gotten quite sick of it at times. But when the twins were little, it was the song I always sang before their naps. Zoe and Camden (siblings, both have Down Syndrome) always requested the same song. And Cimorene calms down faster with that song than with any other.

Having sung it so much, I tend to not notice the words I'm actually saying, but lately I've been paying more attention.

I am a child of God, and He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.

I am a child of God, and so my needs are great.
Help me to understand His words before it grows too late.

I am a child of God; rich blessings are in store.
If I but learn to do his will, I'll live with Him once more.

(And the generally unknown 4th verse from the primary songbook)
I am a child of God; His promises are sure
Celestial glory shall be mine, if I can but endure.

Some of my earliest memories with this song include confusion. "Parents deer?" I pictured my parents with antlers and hoofs. "And so my knees are great?" Well, they were generally scraped, but they weren't bad, I guess.

I learned what the words meant pretty quickly, but I never thought much about just how comforting they were. How many people in this world know that they're a child of God, and that their needs are important just because He loves them? How many would be happier if they knew and really understood that? Do I even really understand? How many times do I forget that doing His will is the important thing? And I won't tell you how often I need reminders that His promises are sure. God will come through. Everything he's promised--peace, forgiveness, eternal life, that my family can be together forever, that we'll live in our bodies again, and so many personal promises--these things are sure. I have to do my part, of course, but He will not fail in His.

What more do I need to be happy and hopeful in this life? No wonder so many children, whose hearts are pure, love this song. It speaks of hope, and love, and our divine nature and eternal destiny. I'm grateful for the chance to sing it ten times a day to my daughter. I only hope I can teach her someday what it means.

4 comments:

  1. My grandmother requested that I am a child of god be sung at her funeral. All of the grandchildren sang it and that was the first time the words really hit me.... I would burst out in tears anytime I heard it for a couple of months after it :)

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  2. I loved singing to all of my children. I always sang Mary's Lullaby, however....

    Love you and love reading your thoughts and insights.

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  3. Ashley, that's really neat!
    Mom, I sing that one as well. Those two are her favorites.

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  4. I remember not understanding the words when I was young. I thought it went like this: "And so my knees are grate." I always pictured my knees and a cheese grater. Painful sounding, but it's all the sense I could make of it.

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