I have always enjoyed the season of Lent. It has always felt like another opportunity to show God that I love Him. It is a chance to nurture our relationship with Him. When teaching my CCE class I attempt to reveal to them the way we are tempted in our every day lives, just as Jesus was tempted in the desert. I remind them of this story and ask them to imagine what it would be like to be in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. We think of the sacrifices that Jesus made, and I challenge them to make their own sacrifices. We also look at the Good Samaritan and decide how we can be more like him, and to live the kind of life Jesus calls us to live.
With young children my goal is for them to willingly sacrifice. The sacrifice can be material objects, money, food/sweets, or their time. As a facilitator, pointing out the rewards of these sacrifices are key. It feels good to give to others and that should be a big focus. The main idea is that through this giving we are loving the Lord and working to please Him.
Please follow my Pinterest board, Get your Lent on, for great visual ideas of what you can do to dedicate time towards prayer, sacrifice, reflection, and preparation with your kids at home or in your classroom. Here is a list of some things to try:
- Give money to the poor (Our parish does Rice bowls)
- Saint of the Day: Learn about a new saint each day and ask them for prayers.My oldest son did this last year. Having lots of saint cards for our All Saints Day celebration, he was able to put them all in a basket and drew one out each day. This can be taken a step further by hanging them in a special place in your home.
- Roll the Prayer Cube daily
- Donate food- St. Vincent De Paul Society always posts in our parish bulletin monthly needed items.
- Lent Cleaning- You don’t need to wait for the official start of Spring to clean out toys, clothes and other items to donate. This should be done WITH your children so they can benefit from choosing to sacrifice.
- Make and distribute Homeless Helper Bags
- Make a list of people who would benefit from a home cooked meal and deliver it to them.
- Write notes or postcards to friends, family, community service workers, military, et cetera.
- Visit a nursing home.
- Write affirmations to people in class.
- Grow a Prayer Plant- Spending time in prayer/reflecting as you care for a specific plant to see how nurturing our souls helps us to grow closer to God. I like to use the tiny, pre-potted and seeded ones from the dollar section in Target.
- Meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries- This book is Fantastic for both kids and adults: The Life of Jesus, an Illustrated Rosary
- Sign up for community service
- Commit to abstain from screen time or video games
- Write out a list of the people you pray for and make sure to do something special for them.
I try not to go overboard, but I encourage my kids to pick at least one thing that they can do everyday and I try to help them to remember to do it. Use this time to create family traditions that will last for years to come.
Note, that if you chose to abstain from something, Holy Days of Obligation, Solemnities, and Sundays are days of rest; which means you do not have to abstain on those days. This gives you all the more reason to follow the Liturgical Calendar.
What are some ways your kids prepare for Easter? Please comment below.
Have a blessed Lent!
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