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Infants, Toddlers, and The One Thing Needful
  • Community
  • Formation
Mother Barbara Watts

Each day at The Saint Constantine School begins with prayer. Our prayers involve internal vigilance, and also external remembrance through viewing icons of the Theotokos and Savior, and hearing prayers written by saints of the Church. In addition, our practice is to add personal encouragement towards spiritual wisdom by sharing clergy or staff stories of struggle towards the good fruits: hope and vigilance of heart to protect and direct our Christian life in community.

Prayer is described in Scripture as "the One thing needful" (Sts. Martha and Mary). 

I am an Orthodox nun, assisting a trusted few in the Infant Nursery for TSCS staff, and bringing prayer among little ones ages 9 weeks to 2 years old. In this setting, we experience prayer from them as: to be heard; to trust; to be fed; to learn in wonder, motion, routines, and play interactions; and to share.  

Through sharing our activities, we build community as we spend time exploring the great outdoors (in rain and shine!) with the multitude of students who come bringing smiles and songs, who offer to comfort and hold.  Through the mindset of prayer, the nursery staff come offering joy, safety, and variety as their one thing needful. Nursery parents experience the nursery also as prayer, the one thing needful. Staff always seek to provide these parents with a quick sketch of their child's day. A newsletter invites them to carry circle or playtime activities into the home, knitting together shared time. 

The cherry on top of our rich blessings here is to note that everyday, students of all ages flock to the infants, and indeed also to the nursery staff, to share experiences with their siblings or even to seek what is needful for their own struggle. In God's perfect timing and grace, we help to affirm hearts ready to seek the one thing needful in the world where God is truly overall and always near!