With Great Lent
looming ever closer, I've been thinking about ways to make it more child-friendly in our house. Now that Sugar Plum is nearing three, I think that she can grasp some simple concepts regarding this special time in our Liturgical year. I found this calender idea
very helpful and Fr. John was pretty excited when I showed it to him as well. I love the idea of placing a food item in a box for the poor daily, don't you?!
Do you do a calender for Lent ( I am interested in your perspective even if you are not Orthodox!)? I'd love to get some more ideas!
A lenten calendar is a great idea.
I love the calendar idea. We get "rice bowls" from our church for saving money for the poor. My daughter suggested that she could do work for me and I could pay her and she'd put the money in the rice bowl. She's a little older than your girls I think. I have some other ideas that I posted on my blog: http://scatteringagates.blogspot.com/2009/02/lent-is-coming-soon.html
In Belgium the Catholic Church used to provide '40 day calendars' for lent. Well, they still do. You tear off a leaf for each day and each day had a prayer. Like the calendar of a shower of roses, there are themes: some days have special prayers, others have information about a country for which the Lenten action is collecting alms and a request to pray for the children there and think about their situation. There always was one day a week with a special childrens activity, like a maze to follow to a lenten figure etc. I would have loved to have one here, but the calendar is only made available a few days before lent and wouldn't arrive here on time.
Not wishing to throw cold water on your idea, but as it happens, I just had a discussion with my priest about this kind of thing. His comment had to do with the way people say, "I feel so good when I do something like that!" and he pointed out that in that case, it's not about almsgiving, but about boosting your own self-esteem. So watch out for that.
Otherwise, I think the idea of a Lenten calendar is great -- but I would go more for something that brought me face to face with my various struggles. We all face the same temptations, in different forms, so it wouldn't need to be so personal that you couldn't share it with someone else -- just, a daily thought that reminded you of some situation you need to handle in a more Christian way.
Interesting point made by Meg. I guess I've never heard that sort of statement from someone when almsgiving! I'm sure that feeling is out there, but in my experience it's more of a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction with what *was* done. I myself often feel guilty about the (relative) excess we enjoy and that the time or money or things I've donated weren't enough and what I have is still *too much*. These are my own issues though!
I certainly think these calendars are an excellent idea for young children coming face-to-face with their own inherent selfishness for the first time and helping them learn to turn outward and think of others. A good jumping-off point for the rest of the year as well. I think it's far to easy at certain times of the liturgical year to focus on giving and self-sacrifice, but we often forget the rest of the time.
It also is nice to have other sacrifices and prayer intentions centrally focused.
I have the book referenced in the original post (Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler) but I haven't looked at it in ages. I'll get it out this week. Lent is fast approaching!
Thank you for sharing the link to my post! The Lenten Calendar has been such a great tool for teaching my children during lent, even the youngest can learn so much from it. I hope you have a very blessed Lent.
I'm not Orthodox or Catholic, but I am a Christian. I've never heard of a Lent calender before; instead, we tend to give up something we love for the 40 days of Lent. This year I along with a few girls from my young adults group are sacrificing tea and coffee (which is huge for a group of uni students, who basically live on caffeine!). And we'll hopefully use the time that would have been spent in the buying, making and drinking of said beverages in prayer and reflection.
This isn't a calendar, but it is what I am planning to use this year:
I hear that my link didn't work. I'll try again:
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