I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.
How do you go about teaching a small child about Lent?
I have three small children – aged 3, 2 and 10 months. While I’m understanding Lent more and more as I get older, Lent as a parent is new to me as my children become better able to reason and I grow in the need to teach them about our faith.
Fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Lent is a time to grow. I’ve heard the analogy of using a butterfly to explain Lent to a child. That during Lent us caterpillars try to grow and be more like butterflies (Christ) through giving things up, prayer and helping others.
I think children have a good natural sense of suffering and growth. From the bewilderment of birth we are learning about our surroundings, feeding and new sensations. The agony and pain of teething, which goes on for years, without ever being able to complain. Hard, sharp teeth penetrating through soft, sensitive gums. Having to go where and when you are told all the time. The disappointment of being unable to get something you want. The impatience of learning to wait when a minute lasts hours. The gut wrenching-ness of having to share or give up the thing you wanted with a sibling, cousin or friend. Having no sense of time when the period of Lent (40 days) is a good percentage of your lifetime.
Yet children are fully open. They are excited by the prospect of helping. Dishes, housework, giving something, sweeping, even jobs an adult might hate comes with great delight. Squabbles, pains and disappointments are forgotton about in moments. Prayer is exciting and a privilege (Bless Mummy, Bless Daddy…). Anticipation is endless. Excitement for Easter lasts for months.
I think that there is more that I can learn from my children’s perspective about the meaning of Lent than they can learn from me at this very young age. God is Love. Love is something that they know well, and I hope we can all grow together in that.
Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
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