Friday, April 9, 2010

Lent Review: How it worked for us...

Now that it is over and done, I wanted to spend a few minutes thinking about Lent with you. Ah now, don't wander off! Stick with me for a few and let's process it all. Knowing what worked this year may help us to know what to do next year.

As you know, I write and sell devotional materials for families and in our home, we use them during Lent. In addition to my set, Josiah made a set of Resurrection Eggs at school and spent time every day teaching about the meaning of each item in the eggs. His sweet teacher had helped her first graders to write down some notes about the stories represented in the set and so Josiah had something to help him along. I loved hearing him talk about these very important truths.

This year, for the first time, every one of us decided to give up something for Lent. I have done it before but we have never done this as a family. Mark and I encouraged the children to think through something they would miss during those 40 days... but not choose something that would be "devastating" to them. Curious about what we released and why?

Mark: Gave up-reading Minnesota newspapers online (He is a Twins and Vikings fan.) and watching videos on YouTube. Reasoning? He spends a lot of time on these things and knew he would feel the loss. Especially during spring training for baseball.

Me: Gave up-Morning TV. Reasoning? We mindlessly turn the TV on and then, though this is never the plan, get sucked into watching and lose SO much time. I wanted to use the time for writing instead.

Noah: Gave up-sugar cookies. Reasoning? Every day, Noah eats a sugar cookie right after school. He LOVES them. He knew he would miss them and that there could be benefit to that.

Benjamin: Gave up-getting out of bed at night. Reasoning? It was a habit that he wanted to finally break. He has gotten out of bed after bedtime every night since he could walk! This was a big change for him.

Josiah: Gave up-playing with Lego Bionicles. Reasoning? It was something he knew he loved that would be difficult but not devastating. We asked him to only give it up on weekdays because he is so young.

Elizabeth: Gave up-playing with Kai-Lan stuff. Reasoning? It is one of her favorite things and she knew she would miss it. We gave her the same weekday deal as we offered Josiah.

Mark and I took the opportunity during those 40 important days to help our children understand that we would feel the loss of what we had released but that feeling this was an opportunity for us to learn a bigger lesson. We talked about how God loved us so much that He sacrificed His son to make a way for us to be with Him. Feeling a tiny bit of sacrifice was a way for us to remember this and connect to it. We made it simple for them and talked about it every now and then.

This weekend, we asked the kids how it went. We wanted to know if they learned anything at all. They all agreed that the first week and the last were the most difficult to handle. During both of those times, they really missed the item they had given up for Lent. (I did, too!)

Some of what they learned was really not spiritual at all... Benjamin realized that he didn't NEED to get up all the time and that when he stayed in bed, he had so much more time to read. He loved that. Josiah said that some days, he focused on it more than usual because he missed his Bionicles.

But some of the lessons were deeper than that. Elizabeth said that Jesus gave up His life for us and she really didn't think it would be fair if we never gave up anything for Him. :) I liked that answer from her and know that it took a long time for her to learn such a big lesson at such a young age.

Noah said, "It was hard to be tempted for 40 days but it would have been harder for Jesus because he was more separated from God than normal… so this is not even close to what He felt."

Important words from my teenage boy.

So, will we do it again? I think next year we will encourage our kids to choose again something to give up for Lent. I love that the season was set apart for us and that we chose to do this together. I also love that Easter Sunday held a sense of relief for us. Seems to fit that important day.

What about you? How did Lent go? Is there a part of those 40 days that you would like to do repeat? Knowing what we have learned helps us to choose what we will do again.

Blessings on your day!

No comments: