Monday, March 2, 2015

What Can Lenten Sacrifice Teach Your Children?

Many Christian churches recognize Lent as a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter.  This season and its practices often seem out of step in today's world that focuses more on comfortable living, self gratification and consumerism.

Why then, might we choose to teach our kids about sacrifice during Lent?  Let’s look take a look at some reasons that our sons and daughters can benefit developmentally and spiritually.  We will use two examples of a small sacrifice your child may choose - giving up electronics for one day a week or going without a favorite snack during Lent.

Developmentally:
1)  Building fortitude:  Choosing to make a small sacrifice such as one mentioned above might make your child feel a bit down, but doing it for several weeks can help him or her realize that it doesn't make him or her miserable.
2)  Strengthening the ability to delay gratification:  Being able to do without in the short term for long term benefit is key to achievement - in school and in life.
3)  Supporting maturation:  Eliminating something that one is holding too dear can help build new and better habits that foster development and spiritual growth.

Spiritually:
4)  Connecting:  Joining others in the Lenten journey can deepen the sense of connection with your church community.
5)  Sacrificing:  Helping build a sense that just as Jesus sacrificed for us, we can sacrifice in some small way as a prayerful offering for ourselves and for others.
6)  Suffering:  Helping our child further connect with our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the suffering he willingly undertook on the cross to offer us salvation.
7)  Celebrating:  At the end of our period of sacrifice, the Lenten journey can help us more fully embrace the joy of Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.