Quit Playin’: The Back2Skool Series: Teach Them to Pray!

By Vincent L. Hall
Columnist

Any religion or spirituality that requires a building is subject to exploitation. Likewise, any educational process that requires brick and mortar is suspect. Regardless of what the “Head of State” says, learning is a 24/7 process best managed by parents and complemented by educators. Classroom instruction is always in order at my house. Every experience is a learning opportunity. It’s been said that there is no wasted time in preparation. Every issue and event is open, and instruction is endless. This series, “Back2Skool” will consist of four parts, sequenced in the order that fits me. Quit Playin’! You didn’t know that pedagogy was my side hustle? My daughters will tell you that every day with me has an argument that leads to discovery and ends in knowledge. The first installment rests on the notion that children need spiritual development and growth. I fell upon a prayer model that coincides with essential social justice teachings and what used to be taught in Vacation Bible School.

The “5 Finger Prayer” model does not give your children the exact words, but it does point them in the right direction. Kathryn Shirley’s prescription puts everything in a perspective that promotes humanity over individuality. Just in case your spawn becomes President, this process will deter them from believing that the world was created for their control and consumption. The prayer begins at the thumb because it’s closest to your heart. “So pray for those closest to you; your family and friends.” The forefinger or pointer finger gives direction, so pray for your teachers, coaches, therapists, doctors, and preachers. That dreaded middle finger comes next, but it should remind your child to pray for leaders of the church, the government, and business because it is the tallest. It’s hard to fathom praying for those who despitefully use you. (Matthew 5:44) However, we must rise above personal prejudices and preferences when raising children. Trump overdosed on the recommended daily requirement of narcissism and bigotry.

The fourth finger is the ring finger, and because it is the weakest, it should remind our students to pray for the sick, the poor, and those most in need. The pinky finger is the smallest and represents us as individuals. Pray for yourself and your needs last. Much of this model could be altered, but the pinkie should always be last. These prayers require parental involvement and encouragement. My mother had three major religious edicts. You must learn the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, and recite a bible verse before meals. My grandmother said if you didn’t say grace before you ate, you could choke and die. She made a believer out of me! Evangelicals and religious hypocrites have whined that Madelyn Murray O’Hair doomed the nation with her successful fight to end prayer in school. Their opines are not all bunk, but parents have other options. I contend that whether the school bells ring in Texas this August or not at all, we still have to teach. Daily prayers are essential.