Thursday, January 10

A Mealtime Prayer

We don't say grace here in the House of Mama Stacey.  I grew up in a Catholic household and yet we rarely said mealtime prayers even there.  Having not grown up with this tradition, it's just not something that I've implemented in adulthood.

The first time Doodle Bug had been exposed to the idea of "saying grace" was during his time attending Head Start (for those unfamiliar, HS is a federally funded preschool program designed to monitor childhood development).  I volunteered there a lot and ate lunch with the little ones.  Before each meal the teacher and her aides led the children in a mealtime prayer that they simply called "Peaceful".

I didn't know what to expect, and was delighted with the short, sweet, non faith-based  prayer that followed.  There were also hand/arm motions.

Hands clasped before you.
"Before me , peaceful."

Hands touching behind the back.
"Behind me, peaceful."

Hands making small circles at your sides.
"All around me, peaceful."

Hands clasped over chest/heart.
"Within me, peaceful."

I have not been able to find evidence that this is a prayer officially used/endorsed by the Head Start system, and so tip my hat to the organizers of Doodle Bug's school for finding and using such a simple and pleasing way of saying grace in a public setting.

After doing a bit of research to find out more about "Peaceful", I've come to find that the words are taken from a Navajo proverb that goes: "Before me peaceful, behind me peaceful, under me peaceful, over me peaceful, all around me peaceful."

When we do find ourselves in a place where we are prompted to say grace, "Peaceful" comes to mind and should any of you suddenly be called upon to say grace in mixed religious company, I invite you give "Peaceful" a try.

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