Children must be guided and supported if they’re to maintain their commitments all the way to Easter.
When it comes to Lenten resolutions, we may lack the time or the energy to take our progress towards Easter seriously. The temptation is great to just say, “We’ll try better next time.”But resolutions do not simply concern giving up on things that are physically, emotionally, or spiritually harmful — they’re also about those extra things we can to do to help others. This year, try to help your kids see that it’s never too late to make and keep their resolutions.
A fun calendar to visually track the progress to Easter.
A calendar may be a fun way to keep a visual track of the daily progress to Easter. Kids can color a box representing each day of the week or decorate it with stickers. To illustrate this spiritual progress you can represent it in a form of ascending steps (one for each day).
Children can note their progress on this calendar, but you may also provide them with any other suitable support in a guise of a resolution tracker. For example, a printout or an illustration of a big cross, a cluster of grapes or a puzzle they must put together. It’s never too late to introduce these practical tools if you feel they may encourage your kids to persevere. Naturally, you must also be aware of their limitations: children being either overly indulgent or overly critical judges of their own efforts, these tools may cause a competition among siblings concerning the good deeds each pledged to accomplish. But such risks can be neutralized when kids are guided by their parents, who can teach them that Lent is above all about the love of Jesus. It supersedes all those things we chose to do or give up on.
Resolutions must be simple and easy to keep.
There are millions of excuses to justify our lack of perseverance when it comes to Lenten resolutions. But sometimes, children reach too far and actually choose a resolution they can’t keep. In this case, you may suggest that they either scale down or redefine it. Instead of saying “I’ll be good all the time,” choose “I won’t borrow my sister’s clothing without asking her permission.” More importantly, children must see that it’s all right to fail provided they start all over again. Not trying to do so is tantamount to doubting our own capacities and the mercy of the Lord. He never asks us to progress in leaps and bounds, just to move forward, even if it’s one baby step at a time.
If some resolutions are too enthusiastic, others are not ambitious enough. To encourage your child, tell them: “You can try to do more, I know you can.” What is true for one child can also apply to your whole family. You may well choose to do more than was initially decided (this may concern family prayer, almsgiving, or volunteering). In any case, there is no obligation to stay within the limits of a “program” established once and for all. As with your whole life, the 40 days of Lent are an opportunity for spiritual growth.
Encourage big and small children.
Kids need to see and feel that they are encouraged. This is why God manifests Himself through parents and asks them to be attentive to the efforts and sacrifices their children make.Most of the time a kind word or a smile are enough to make the child see how proud you are of the joyful enthusiasm with which they keep their resolution.
Helping small children is relatively easy, but big kids also need encouragement, while also wanting us to let them be independent So, parents must take this into account and be tactful. Remember, you don’t need much to discourage them. If your teen is making discrete attempts to be helpful, but you refuse to acknowledge them, he or she may give up.
A positive ambiance is a great way to help kids progress toward Easter.
The Lenten season is not supposed to be bleak. Although true conversion only comes after a sincere repentance, it is also a time of joy, an open door to our salvation.
This joy must find its way into the life of the whole family, if it’s to become the surest way to help our kids with keeping their resolutions as they progress to Easter.