As a Catholic family, today we have started to observe Lent, which is 40 days long.
I find, Lent can give us a lot in parenting. Lent, is meant to be a season of fasting, praying and giving alms. These can bring out a lot for our children.
Fasting for children can take up many faces, it could mean a day without sweets or screen time. It could mean being more mindful how we talk to each other. It could mean taking something which we really love and ditch it together as a family for the whole of Lent. This teaches children resilience, having a strong will to follow through. It teaches, patience, kindness, delayed gratification.
Praying need not be a prayer learnt by heart. It could mean reading sections of the Bible that help us build on what we know so we can grow further. It could mean just saying some words of gratitude every day. It could mean simply looking at the sunrise or sunset quietly. Whatever you choose, it teaches listening, stillness, gratitude, love for all that surrounds us.
Giving alms need not be a simple cheque sent by post – indifferent and unfeeling. Alms can be given by random acts of kindness on the road…..smiling at someone, paying something small to someone, carrying a heavy load for someone, hugging someone, giving kind words. All this yes teaches kindness, being thoughtful, gentle, caring, loving. It teaches that the world does not rotate around them but around us all and we need each other to survive and live joyfully.
As Christians, we can use Lent to check up on us and our goals. Simple ways to introduce Lent at home could be by having an unlit candle throughout this season or have some earth bare throughout Lent which can turn into a small ‘garden’ by Easter. You can have a Lenten calendar. Books of course always help! These are the books we read during Lent:
- The Giving Tree
- The Easter Story
- The Blackbird’s Nest by Jenny Schroedel
- Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco
- The Starry Bird by Reg Down
Ultimately, Lent should remind us to slow down and take stock of what we are building. Doing that, can teach us a lot about our family and teach our family a lot on how to be a good human.
What are your thoughts?