I was originally going to publish this post tomorrow, but then I thought it might be helpful to do it today since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.
My Lenten practices have evolved quite a bit over the years from giving up things like chocolate as a kid. I really try to use the time to make sacrifices and complete acts that will improve my life and my relationship with God, as well as set a positive example for my seven year old. Over the past couple of years, I have been incorporating the following themes into my Lenten journey: abstinence, almsgiving, and prayer, and I encourage my little guy to do the same and come up with ways we can do this together. Because he’s so young, I try not to push my own agenda on him and let him initiate some of it. For example, last year he gave up Nerf guns for Lent, which probably wouldn’t have been my first choice but I just went with it. As I have explained on here before, we also do an “Acts of Kindness” calendar to prepare for Christmas, which is something he really enjoys. Because he likes it so much and gets so much out of it, I try to find ways to incorporate this practice into the season of Lent as well.
My little guy has not decided yet what to “give up” for Lent; however, I am planning to abstain from using my iPhone/iPad for social media/internet surfing/etc. during the hours of 8:00 AM- 8:00 PM, while my baby girl is awake. I considered giving up social media completely, but because of the blog I didn’t want to stay off of it for a full 40 days. I do; however, want to refrain from getting sucked into the deep abyss during the day when I’m with my little girl. While I try to limit it in general, I have been getting sucked in far too much during these cold, long winter days and I don’t want to be a distracted parent who is always on my phone. This is my attempt to be more present with my family.
My little guy and I came up with the following list of ways we can serve others, and I’m so proud of how excited he is about it:
-Donate to the local food pantry
-Make a craft and distribute to residents at a local nursing home/rehab center
-Go through my little guy’s old clothes and donate to Birthright
-Donate money to CRS Rice Bowl (I am working out a plan for my little guy to take the lead on this, donating some of his own money and working around the house to earn additional money to donate)
Instead of starting my day on social media (am I the only one who does this? #inserteyerollemojihere), I’m going to spend the first 15 minutes of my day in prayer, reading and reflecting on the multiple books I own and crack into only occasionally. I really like the Jesus Calling series (found here). Out of the Spin Cycle, by Jen Hatmaker is another good one.
For my little guy, I’m planning to pick up a children’s missal (like this one) to encourage his participation and attention during mass.
I’m hoping that through these acts, we can make this penitential season before Easter a meaningful one.