We are not religious. I don't believe in God. But I have come to believe in prayer as another way of conditioning our children and ourselves to revel in the moment. The prayers at school are not so much those that ask for things but those that give thanks for what we already have. In kindergarten students give thanks for waking up another day. In first grade they move to the miracle of light following darkness again that morning.

What effect any of this is having on my sons is still too early to tell. They're kids. If they could skip morning prayers to sleep late or use Pajama Day to play on the computer, they'd be thrilled. But I am starting to see the profound effect it is having on me. As I rush to a meeting, I find myself stopping to notice how brilliantly the sun is illuminating a particular yellow leaf. When I get off the phone with my mother, I find myself pausing to feel grateful she's still here. When the boys bounce on the sofa in their pajama bottoms—both refuse to wear tops—I find myself focusing less on whether this means they'll have to do their college course work over the Internet and more on how impossibly smooth their little chests are, how fine the collarbones, how it's just a matter of time until these parts become bigger and coarser and someone else's to caress, not mine. And I take a moment to caress them now—despite all else we could or should be doing—because the moment is what we have, and it's sacred.

Lisa Wolfe lives in New York with her family. She is working on a novel.

Make Every Moment Count


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