Prayers for Children: Using the Rosary

I was raised Catholic. I got the full gamut of Sacraments growing up: Baptism, First Communion, Reconciliation, and Confirmation. I attended Catholic schools and learned the rudiments of the faith. Somewhere along the way, I think it was for First Communion, someone gave me a Rosary as a gift. It was a very beautiful Rosary—blue crystals with imitation gold filigree (not sure if that is the right word). It was very pretty, but I rarely used it. Why? Because when I received it, I was instructed in how to use it. Every decade was detailed and expected. For those that don’t know, a decade consists of an Our Father (the prayer), ten Hail Mary’s (the prayers), and a Glory Be (the prayer). It requires five decades to do a complete Rosary and even more (in fact, ten more I think) if you are going to go through the Mysteries. Obviously, this is an overwhelming task for an eight-year-old (or however old I was at the time). The result is that I rarely ever used the Rosary in my prayers because I wasn’t about to say 50+ Hail Mary’s, plus another half-dozen or more Our Fathers and Glory Be’s at one time. That’s a major commitment for a young child. I’m inclined to think, too much of one. So, as a piece of advice to religious parents who want to raise religious children, I would suggest a more limited approach to the Rosary. Tell your kids to just say a decade at night. That’s far more manageable, and far less overwhelming. As they get older, they can work their way up to a full Rosary. They have plenty of time to develop the habit (no pun intended 🙂 ).

Of course, I’m unmarried and I don’t have any kids. So feel free to ignore me at your leisure. I’m only pontificating (again, forgive the pun :)) from my own experience. I might have been more inclined to use a Rosary if I were limiting myself to twelve prayers at night instead of sixty.

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