"It's not fair. I don't have as many toys as Aiden."
"Addie has cool clothes, I don't. Why can't I have clothes like Addie?"
Have you heard this poison spew out of the mouth of one of your kids this week? We live in a culture that is immersed in the philosophy of I.
We do it, too. It just normally doesn't happen out loud. I can persuade people to like me. I can be a great mom. I am busy and important and I am creating this perfect little life because I am in control. The problem is that you're not. I'm not. And neither are your kids. I'd like to blame it all on our culture, but I think it might just be that outside of Christ's work in my life, I'm all about me.
That's why I need Lent. I need to be reminded that I can't. Only Jesus can.I need to remember that my identity is found in Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. I need to be reminded that when I couldn't live a life that would be pleasing to God, Jesus suffered for me when He didn't have to, so I could be His prize - a prize that really isn't even good enough to be called a parting gift. I need to remember that my sins are a big deal - such a big deal that only Jesus who was without sin had to die for them.
So, why talk to your kids about Lent?
Lent is a time to remember. It's a time to focus on prayer and thankfulness for the work of a perfect Savior to save an imperfect world. It's a time to give something up so that anytime that you think of what you've sacrificed you are reminded of Jesus' sacrifice for you. It's a time to give back and to take extra time to show others the love that you received through Jesus.
What an amazing time to teach your children about what Jesus did for them! You don't have to call it Lent. You don't have to give them all the background of where it started or who still practices it today. But I do challenge you to be mindful of this time leading up to Easter and spend it wisely.
Here are a couple ideas: read through one of the Gospels together, pray together in the car during a commute, ask questions about how we can show Jesus' love to others at dinner and actually go do some of those, talk about why we pray and how we pray, and talk about why Jesus had to die on the cross. You don't have to sit down and talk for an hour everyday. Just find teachable moments and take advantage of them. Incorporate new activities that will make kids love learning about Jesus.
I'm observing Lent. (Yes, I'm a Southern Baptist doing the whole Lent thing.) I'm giving up Diet Coke, and I'm already missing it (my body is conditioned to have one at 9:30am and after work. It's bad.), but I'm excited about those moments when I really want to go get one out of the fridge and I'm reminded of Jesus instead. I will most likely mess up at some point, but keeping a perfect record isn't the point of Lent. It's remembering and choosing to make the steps to grow with Jesus.
Are you participating in Lent? How will you talk to your kids about Lent?