Praying Lent: Helping Little Children with Lent
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from page one of "Praying Lent: Helping Little Children with Lent"As parents of young children know, Lent can seem so "heavy" in comparison to the anticipation and excitement of preparing for Christmas. What can this season of conversion and preparation "to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and hear t renewed" mean for little children?For many of us growing up, Lent meant "giving up candy." That wasn't a bad way to introduce us to the notion of self-discipline, but simply giving up something for Lent, without a whole sp irituality that children can enter into, can leave kids dreading Lent more than looking forward to it.The first and most important help for little children is that we as adults understand Lent and enter into it ourselves with real devotion and joy. If Lent makes its way into our home and into our conversations and practices that children can see, they will naturally grow up in a culture that embraces Lent as a season of grace.Secondly, symbols are very important. Children need a context. They need to expl ore and understand what we just take for granted, and sometimes forget. When we put something in a central place in our home, and call attention to it, it naturally le ads children to ask "why" it is there and what it means. In thei r curiosity, they want to know what's changed and what difference it makes for them.