“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.”
Last year, Punkin’ was 3 years old and when Lent began, so did the questions. As she stared intently at an image of the crucifixion that’s part of our parish’s Stations of the Cross, she asked, “‘Cause why He’s up on that thing?” And when I watched a History Channel program that used the Shroud of Turin to generate a computer graphic of Christ after death, her jaw dropped and she exclaimed, “What?!” and ran from the room. She ran back a few moments later and asked, “Where’s that Jesus?” so I’m pretty sure she wasn’t scarred. But her questions always highlighted a question of my own: how to explain Lent and its purpose in preparation for Easter? And so, when I found a similar message to the one below online last year, it jumped out as a motto to help our family emphasize giving for others and keeping love in Lent:
Our Lenten activity calendar (“40 Days of Good Deeds”) is a help in keeping us focused daily on giving more for others. In a few weeks, our calender will have us reread Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
This book was written by Carol McCloud, who lives in a smallish Michigan town where I was once a children’s librarian. Its concept is easy for all ages to grasp: we fill our own imaginary buckets by giving love and help to others, and full buckets make us feel wonderful. (We also deplete our buckets by being selfish, rude, and hurtful.) There’s an entire web site devoted to this book’s idea, as well, that offers lots of resources. It’s a preschool-friendly reminder that when we sacrifice for others, our happiness and contentment grow. Other activities from our calendar (sending thank you notes, scooping the cat litter, praying for the poor and vulnerable), hopefully, will also keep us centered on giving but also giving with love.
This afternoon, we put together hospitality packs for our local Catholic Family Center. These are bags of toiletries that are distributed to the homeless in local shelters.
While we shopped for these supplies, we talked about the kinds of people who would receive them: ordinary people like us, kids like her, moms and dads. And as we put the bags together today, she spied a purple toothbrush and declared her love and need for it. I pointed out that she has a toothbrush and this purple one would go to someone who doesn’t have one. As with any four-year-old, she wasn’t immediately impressed. But just a few moments later, she carefully discerned which bag should be the lucky recipient of the purple toothbrush and gave a big grin when she settled on one. Giving can be hard — but giving with love can make us feel great.
How do you keep kids focused on joyful giving? My great thanks in advance for whatever advice or ideas you want to share!
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.
Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!