“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take”
I’m sorry, but does anyone else think this is a little scary for a kid to have to say at bedtime, just before drifting off to sleep? Worrying about falling into an eternal slumber is the last thing a small child should have to think about at night. I can understand the message. Just in case you die in your sleep you want to be sure the “lord” takes you instead of being taken by some evil demon.
I used to lay on my bed, completely still and hold my breath. I wanted to see what it would be like to be dead. Maybe this is kind of macabre for a child to do, what can I say, I was a weird kid. Sometimes I’d lay with my eyes open. Sometimes I’d lay with my eyes closed. I’d hold my breath as long as I could, while wondering what life would be like for my family if I were gone. It’s one thing to pretend. It’s another to put the idea in a child’s mind that she might actually die in her sleep.
I remember the first time I became aware of my own mortality. I had a friend who lived down the street from my Grandmother. One day my Mom got a phone call and she told me my friend died. She had drown while away on vacation with another neighborhood family. Suddenly it hit me. I was about eight or nine and I realized that that could have been me. I could have drown and everyone could be talking and crying about me. Laying on my bed, holding my breath and pretending to be dead wasn’t so much fun anymore. I saw how my friend’s death tore up her Mom. I didn’t want my Mom and Dad to go through all that pain. I also didn’t want to be dead.
So, instead of the traditional version of “Now I lay me down to sleep, etc” I’d like to propose a newer, gentler version of this scary prayer:
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep. If I should cry before I wake, my Mom will bring me chocolate cake”
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