Thought we’d set the tone with this fun clip from the Dogma Dogs‘ popular “Lent” song. (Warning: it’ll get stuck in the head of any five-year-old who hears it!)
When our family was young, we had a wonderful pastor named Fr. Rich. I will never forget his explanation of Lent one Ash Wednesday. He proposed that we can think of Lent as a time to evaluate our relationship with God and our spiritual health, like a checkup: How are you doing? What do you need to improve? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? How can you do better? The Church in Her wisdom knows that we cannot go full steam all the time, so She gives us seasons in which to update and intensify our spiritual practices.
As a family, we need to encourage and help each other during this time of renewal. Even young children can make small sacrifices, do extra chores, and walk with you, their parents, on the road to Easter. It’s not about keeping your Lenten promises perfectly every day (though it would be great if you did!). Lent is about the journey and keeping our eyes fixed on the goal.
No matter how well you remember to keep your Lenten promises, do not neglect to celebrate Holy Week! This is the most sacred time of the entire Church year. In order to communicate this to your children, plan some special activities during the Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Going to services at your parish is a great idea, but sometimes with young children, this can be difficult. If you decide to not go to services, be sure to do something at home that will emphasize the sacred nature of Holy Week. Maybe you could have a special meal, act out scenes from the last hours of Christ’s life, or do the Stations of the Cross together as a family (check out this new illustrated Stations of the Cross for Kids). Whatever your children need in order to focus their minds and hearts on the events of the passion, that is what you should do. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be memorable to them.
You might also want to consider signing up for Cana90, our marriage challenge for Lent and Easter, which includes daily and weekly ideas for celebrating Lent and Easter.
We hope that you use Lent to look at your relationship with God, and your family’s relationship with Him. Our Lord is waiting for us and He rejoices when we bring our children to Him. Do not disappoint Him this Lenten season!