Friday, July 30, 2010

Freedom to Sing

Munchkin has learned his phonics. B is for bear; buh, buh, buh. F is for fox; fph, fph, fph. He looks at the sentence: The dog ran after the cat. He painstakingly sounds out the d and the o and the g. He slowly and carefully smooshes the letters together into something that an adult recognizes as the word "dog." But the kid is focused on the sounds of the letters and struggles to find a recognizable word in the connection of the letter-sounds. Then he figures it out: he said "dog"! Woof woof, four legs and a tail, slobbery kisses, fur -- a DOG. Then he reads "ran" the same, slow way. Then "after." Then "cat."

And now we want him to remember that d-o-g is "dog," after all that mental exercise? We expect him to put the whole sentence together? That's some hard work!

In May, our hymn of the week for Rogate was "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing." I blundered through the LSB wording. If I sang at the kitchen sink or in the car, the TLH words kept coming out of my mouth. That is hard for the kids; I mess up what they're learning by heart. I try to keep my old-fashioned words under wraps, hidden, kept just for me, not confusing the kids' minds. But that means I can't sing the hymns as I used to.

However, that week there was one stanza that I could sing. "Oh, grant us thitherward to tend and with unwearied hearts ascend unto Thy kingdom's throne where Thou, as is our faith, art seated now. Alleluia!" And because it's a metrical form of the Ascension collect, I was relishing the words all week.

But Andrew caught me: "Mommmmmmm! Don't sing the old words! Keep working on learning the new words!" I told him that, on this one, I was allowed -- because this stanza isn't in LSB and there are no new words to learn. So there! Ha! I am free to sing this the way I know it.

And I thought about that. Free to sing. Free to pray the words of the hymn.

I am still the 5-yr-old, struggling through the phonics of LSB. I have to pay so much attention to getting each word out of my mouth that I can't grasp what the sentences in the hymn are saying. I know the situation will improve with time and practice, as does the reading ability of the 5-yr-old who is fluent by the time he's 10. But right now, I'm running really short of hymns. The songs are still there, but I'm at an in-between place where I am no longer free to pray the ones where the text has been altered. And I really really miss them.

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