Saturday, January 08, 2022




When my sister and I were very young, we had a phonograph and colorful records, each one with a nursery rhyme set to music. I guess this was the equivalent of the modern day “Sesame Street” in which children are taught by using music and rhymes. Well, my sister and I knew all those nursery rhymes by heart and sang them often. At the time I was 3 and my sister was 4. These rhymes were so imaginative, like “Peter the Pumpkin Eater” who kept his wife in a pumpkin shell, and “Winken, Blinken, and Nod” about 3 kids who sailed off in a wooden shoe to fish for herring in the beautiful sea. Because I heard these nursery rhymes so often, I started making up my own songs. I would just start singing and make them up as I went along.


Mom taught us a nighttime prayer and a blessing before meals. In fact, we each had a cup with the blessing written on it. My cup had the prayer written in red, and my sister’s had the prayer written in blue. They were simple and short prayers. Some of you may know them. The nighttime prayer was, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” The table blessing was, “God is great; God is good, let us thank Him for this food.”


When nighttime came our parents would take turns reading stories to us as they tucked us in at night. One of our favorite books was “Finn and His Warrior Band” an Irish story filled with imaginative beings like mermaids, dragons, monsters, and witches. You’d think these stories were scary except we knew Finn and his warrior band would always come to the rescue. (The only thing I was afraid of was foxes and spiders. I had a night light to dispel those creatures.) Pop liked to affect the dialogue of the characters. It was a comforting feeling to have a parent read to us and tuck us in for that transition from day activities to restful, nighttime sleep.


Because our parents invested their time in us and how they thought of ways to teach us things like music, faith, and creativity, we developed into what I think were thoughtful, creative human beings who had values and imagination. I felt protected and loved by my parents. Children should always feel that way, but we know, sadly, that not every child gets nurturing and guidance like that. I am forever grateful for the parents I had.

What did your parents do that made you feel good and secure? Did they read to you or spend time with you in a way that made you feel special and loved? What is your favorite memory of you and a parent from your childhood?

For writers: Do you write about parents in your stories? Do you write children’s books or young adult books?

Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories




Amazon Author's Page

Fantasy and Dreams (




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