As a Jewish mom raising a Catholic daughter, teaching her about the Lenten season can be tricky. There’s a lot of effort and research on my end—to make sure she (make that, WE
both!) properly understands the season.
I want to teach her that it’s a time to bring us closer to God.
It’s a time to let go of materialistic things, like toys and television—things that bring us happiness only temporarily.
It’s a time to refocus our hearts on prayer and reflection, and our relationship with God.
I want to inspire her to be better, not require her to give up television. At three years old I don’t think she can comprehend that giving up television for forty days (Oh–but except for Sundays, because that’s a day of celebration) is a sacrifice for God. It just doesn’t seem very age-appropriate, in my opinion. I could just hear her now: God doesn’t want me watching Doc McStuffins… That’s not the point I’m trying to make.
Instead, I want to inspire her to make good choices in life.
Without over-stimulating her, (and overwhelming myself with high expectations), I’ve decided to keep it simple. Emmalyn enjoys partaking in crafts–especially those that include scissors, paint, and glue. Together, we created a: Lenten Prayer “Treasure” Box.
I’ve seen something similar done for older children, where they write down a prayer request and put it in a box (whether it’s an old shoe box or mini-mailbox). Seeing as Emmalyn cannot write yet, but is absolutely capable of praying for people (as she demonstrates on her own every evening either at dinner or bedtime), I’m going to have her cut out pictures of people, or help her draw them, then transcribe her very own personal prayer onto a piece of paper. Most of the time she’s rather specific in her prayers so it should be very interesting and entertaining to see what she comes up with. Then, she will put them in her very own Lenten Prayer Treasure Box.
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The steps to creating our Lenten Prayer “Treasure” Box were quite simple.
Step One: Grab a cute kid.
Step Two: Pick out a box big enough to hold approximately forty strips of paper/pictures.
We got our box at Michael’s Crafts.I believe it was $10.
Step Three: Let her have at it!
As someone who loves crafting myself, I had to sit on my hands! This wasn’t my project–but Emmalyn’s. Oh, and that mini-treasure box you see? It was the original one she picked out, but obviously not big enough; therefore, we ended up with two treasure boxes.
Step Four: Add stickers!
The paint dries pretty quickly, but we still waited until the next day to add stickers to it. Again, I kept my mouth closed when Emmalyn picked out her own stickers at the craft store. She picked cupcakes and princess castles. They’re felt and super sticky on the backside. I thought I was going to have to reglue them after she went to bed, but seriously, those suckers aren’t coming off!
Step Five: Voila! Easy enough, right?!
My hope is to have her do one prayer every day, but I’m not going to fret if we miss a day every now and again. The point isn’t to have her do it for forty days, but rather to get her thinking about doing good for others, the way Jesus did for her.
I want her to practice being grateful, while also strengthening her relationship with God.
–>> What are you plans for Lent? Do you have a children’s activity up your sleeve? If so, I’d love to hear/see about it! Leave me a link in the comments if you have one. –>>