Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lent in Progress

Here we are, on the first Sunday of Lent, only a few days into the season. And I must say, I do think we have a good system going on here. Each year I have struggled bringing Lent to the kids in a way that they can understand and appreciate. Last year we had success with the Jesus Tree, but that was pretty much it. This year I thought long and hard on what we could do that was simple, doable, and meaningful. So what are they doing?

Each morning the kids wake up and we read our Bible story and hang an ornament up on the Jesus Tree. After, one of the kids pick a slip of paper from the jar for their sacrifice/good deed of the day. For example, this week the ideas drawn were:

  • Say "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you" when needed. (Just when I think we all do this automatically is usually when it starts to wear off!)
  • Say an extra decade of the Rosary. (On nice days we take a "Rosary Walk" but colder days find us on the couch or on my bed before going to sleep.)
  • Unplug for the day - no tv, computer, phone, etc. (Wow - I had some teary eyes on this one but after the initial groans, I heard nothing more about it, and they had a great time making a disaster of the house, pulling games and whatnot out.)
  • Fill a donation bag. (Boy, this was hard for me to let them fill it as they wished, and not butt in. And, it sure took them a long time to decide what goes!)
Once their deed is done, they can put a bean in a jar. On Easter morning they will find it filled with jelly beans (to share of course!).

The final thing the kids are doing is taking a chain off our Lenten countdown chain at night. The chain is purple for the 40 days, with golden yellow for each Sunday. Each chain has a simple prayer on it. Their dad, myself, or Skipper reads the prayer. We all love this activity, but I must say I do not like the cat batting away at it every single morning, while waiting for his breakfast!

In addition, there are little things added: creating a small altar table with books, crucifix, etc. that is very visible and hands-on; playing the Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross audio cd (Skipper loves this); and eventually watching Via Crucis - Stations of the Cross dvd. I have some other small ideas if desired, but those are all extra and will do only if time (more like, baby) allows and it does not lead to complicating/stressing-out Lent.

What meaningful activities help your child(ren) focus on Lent?

5 comments:

  1. Great ideas Nicole! You always have great ideas!

    I am not stingy with those beans, even if they do a lot, it takes a lot of beans to fill a jar...so for example for every room my 5 year old cleans up, she gets 5 beans...They get so excited!

    Glad your lent is going good!

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  2. Like your chain idea, we do a calendar, but they may like a chain ever more. We also do sacrifice good deed beads but lov idea of the ideas on paper!

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  3. Jamie - I'll put more beans in too! That jar seems awfully big! :)

    Sylvia - I tried a paper calendar but it always gets lost in the other paperwork (even if it's hung up, lol!). The kids can't help but remember the chain up in the hallway by their rooms. I like the bead idea but I know the boys would lose them. With the paper we just have to remember what we're focusing on for the day. The hope is it carries into other good deeds for the day!

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  4. As always..I love your ideas. We are also going to Stations of the Cross on Friday afternoons. It is w/ a local parish/school, so I think it will be nice for the kids to do stations with the other children. We also are even doing adoration for a little while each week with another family. It is such a blessings.

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  5. Great ideas, Nicole. thanks for sharing. We are planning on doing the sacrifice jar. I'm a little behind schedule this year.

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