The Best Laid (Lent) Plans- For You!

So last time I talked about what we’re doing as a family (specifically a homeschooling family) for Lent this year. Today I want to talk about what I’m doing as a real live actual adult person to make sure that when I get to Easter, it’s not just shoving the kids across the finish line. They can’t get anything from me if I don’t have anything to give them spiritually.

(They suck everything else dry. Might as well go with spirituality too.)

I’m pretty basic about my Lenten practices now as a mom. I stick to the three big things that the Church recommends- prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

I don’t want to spend any time writing about what I’m fasting from, because that’s not important and it bugs me when people are like “Well I’m giving up chocolate and alcohol…”* as though that was the important part. It’s not. The important part is that you fast from SOMETHING.

*It’s not chocolate or alcohol. I’d also have to fast from motherhood then and I’m pretty sure that’s not what God wants from me right now.

Fasting allows us to realize the earthly limits of our bodies and desires and turns us closer to God in a way that anything other than denial can’t. So it’s a pretty important part of anyone’s Lent, I think.


I try to ramp up my prayer life during Lent. I make an effort to go to Adoration more frequently, and daily Mass whenever I can. This year I’m continuing with my Bible/Catechism reading plan every day, and I’ve started reading the Ratzinger Jesus of Nazareth book that deals with Holy Week for my good-for-me reading. I’m also following Lent and Easter Wisdom from John Paul II because it’s super short and easy and a nice way to start the day.


I loved using the Magnificat Advent app, so I downloaded the Lenten companion as well. Like in Advent, I don’t follow everything in there, but I make it a point to read the reflections each day, as well as the evening prayer.

So much (all) of my prayer life is focused on morning before the day gets going and people need me for everything. I realized I didn’t have anything spiritual at night, except for the odd nights when my husband and I say a rosary together. So we’ve started doing that every night and I’m committed to the evening prayer from Magnificat.

Almsgiving is also a pretty personal thing I think, but something that we’ve done in the past is staying home from restaurants or allotting a portion of our budget that would normally be for something else for a charity. (In our case, I like to support local pro-life centers that help with postpartum care and adoption assistance.) Usually this practice inherently involves fasting as well, since you’re probably giving something up to have extra money to donate to charity.

I do think it’s important to talk about it with your kids and your close friends to get ideas about new ways to share your treasure, and it’s super nice to  have any opportunity to explain how blessed we are to my kids, who today told me they “COULD NOT LIVE” without tablets.

That made me want to drop them in the middle of the dessert and explain to them how the vast majority of the world’s population lives. It’s not all My Little Pony and Rescue Bots, guys.

 

The Best Laid (Lent) Plans- For Kids

Lent is almost here guys, and I’m super excited to PLAN ALL THE THINGS. Because we all know I love PLANNING. But actually EXECUTING IT AND DOING STUFF is…not what I love. So we’ll see.

(Like I’m planning on giving up swearing. We’ll see. But that’s a post for another day.)

But anyway.

So I’m trying to balance between keeping things simple enough to succeed (success is really important for my kids sticking with…well, anything.) and actually making them understand that something is different.

That’s a big thing this year- my daughter is seven, which is the age of reason and so she’s required to abstain from meat for the first time this year. And so that’s pretty cool and I really wanted her to understand what is happening. She picked something to give up all on her own, and we’re trying hard to make her understand that abstaining is not just a mean way to make her give up her happy meal from Grandma on Fridays.

The other major things we’re doing  are following a daily reflection book, weekly stations of the cross, attempting to get to daily Mass at least once a week (to be fair, I attempt this every week. And a lot of times it fails.) and doing sacrifice noodles. (Stay with me.)


The book is pretty typical. We have a copy that is the same except with teachings from Mother Teresa, but I wanted to focus on the Little Flower with the kids, since we have a family devotion to her. It’s nicely set up with a scripture verse, adult devotion, and a reading for children.

(And crafts. Of course.)

We’re also going to be doing the Children’s Stations of the Cross (just at home, so just praying them and not walking around or anything.) I’m aiming to do it every week, but we’ll see how far the kids’ attention spans go. More than anything, I don’t want to make them feel like Lent is a burden.


The sacrifice noodles are new, and I found it something on the internet. They’re technically sacrifice beans but I’m allergic to beans and I figured anything else my kids would put in their mouths. So uncooked elbow macaroni noodles are our new sacrifice symbol!

You designate a jar or a vase (we’re having a vase, because it pleases me aesthetically) and every time the children do something nice for one another, listen perfectly, or give something up for Jesus, they get to put a noodle in the vase. On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny (or mom and dad if you don’t do that) switch out all the noodles for jelly beans. The kids get to eat the jelly beans as they continue to offer things up or behave nicely. I think it’s a really nice way of concretely showing them that we need to offer things up for others as well as having a way to continue it through the Easter season and beyond.

What are you doing for Lent in your home or homeschool?