Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lent for the Kids

Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. After being snowed in at my parent's house and then snowed in again once we got home, time has seemed to slip away and my mind has been a bit off track. Realizing that Lent starts in 6 days, I sat down at the computer and began looking for some inspiration for our family's Lenten plan. As with Advent, I like to plan special things for the kids to do. Little Miss Chatterbox has already been asking about a couple things. They're fun things that also teach them about why we participate in Lent and what we are preparing ourselves for. Lent prepares us for Christ's death and resurrection just as Advent prepared us for His birth. And while I like to do these things with them, I wanted to do something more this year. I just wasn't sure what. Lent is a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. So I didn't want all our activities to be "fun". Yes, I want them to be appealing so that the kids are willing to participate. But what else could I do? As I was reading through some great Catholic mom blogs, I came across something I was not expecting. A blog about a young girl (very young. She just turned 21 in November) who went to Uganda to help the orphans in need and over time has ended up adopting 14 kids. You can see their cute family picture with her and all her daughters here. As if a single 21 year old Mom with 14 kids who goes around helping some of the most desperate in need isn't inspiring enough, I read this post written by her. (Read it if you have time. She's an excellent writer) It made me cry. It made me imagine Little Miss Chatterbox as the little girl that she describes in that post. It made me sick to my stomach and then I cried some more. I thought about how spoiled we are. Then I thought about Lent. We can give up our pleasures. The things we don't really need. The extras in our life that make us that much more spoiled. My want my kids to know how much they have. I want them to appreciate every meal that is on the table. When we say Grace before we eat, I want them to really understand that the food truly is a blessing and something to be thankful for. I decided that would be something I wanted to work on for Lent. I left the computer not knowing how and went to fix my kids lunch. They complained that we had nothing good in the house to eat. How did we get to this point? Later, i went back on the computer to continue planning for Lent. I looked for an old blog post that I had read last year before Lent which had the idea of making a lamb calendar for the kids and you glue a cotton ball on each day and when Easter comes you have a nice fluffy lamb. While visited the blog, I read an old post of hers from a Lent of the past where she explains that her and her children do a rice bowl each year. You fill it up with money to donate to the Catholic Relief Services. 75% of the money goes to help farmers in Bolivia receive training to improve crop yields, children in Afghanistan gain more opportunities for quality education, communities in Ethiopia access reliable water sources even during times of drought, and fund many other vital projects. The other 25% supports local hunger and poverty alleviation efforts. Could this be what I was looking for? I checked out the website and was excited to see that they will mail you free literature about different countries each week of Lent. What a great learning experience for my children! They even have prayer suggestions to pray for those in need. I went ahead and placed my order and hope that this will effect us in some way and help us to truly appreciate all that we have.


  1. How inspiring. One person CAN make a difference. If we all did just SOMETHING, imagine how different the world be be. Your plan sounds awesome! Can't wait to see it progress.

  2. OK, just read Katie's post and I had the same reaction as you. We need reminders such as this, every day. Thanks for sharing Jo.