Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sacrifice Ideas For My Children

One of my goals this Lent is to give my children a preschool understanding of why they would choose to make sacrifices. This will be a process, not something they learn overnight, and I'm not certain yet how they will respond. :-) We will be doing some things as a family which they won't be able to choose/reject (i.e. no desserts or candy on weekdays) but beyond that I want to encourage them to learn that hardships are part of being a Christian and we choose sometimes to take the difficult path out of love of God rather than always following the easy road. Of course a preschooler isn't in the position to think of more than a couple sacrifices nor to necessarily continue the same sacrifice for more than a day or two at a time. So here is my brainstorm list for my children to choose from when they choose a sacrifice for a day:
  • not playing with reusable stickers
  • make a card for a friend/family member
  • share your favorite doll with your sister/friend
  • say an extra prayer after lunch
  • not use favorite (Hello Kitty) plate/bowl (when it's your turn)
  • make a (Perler) bead project for a friend/neighbor
  • vacuum/sweep/dust for an extra 5 minutes
  • water houseplants
  • help fold laundry (kitchen washcloths)
  • let Sister choose her bed for naptime first (when it's your turn)
  • tell your sister/mom/dad/grandma/nanna/aunt/uncle 5 things you like about her/him
  • watch The Gospel of John (or a portion of it)
  • make a stained glass cross for our front window
  • paint a rock to decorate our garden
  • visit a retired couple for a simple lunch
  • help polish the silverware for our family Seder
  • give someone in your family an extra special hug and kiss
  • say an extra prayer for someone who especially needs it (someone who we know is sick/grieving/worried/or who serves us in a special way: soldier/firefighter/EMT/pastor/teacher)
  • visit our local children's butterfly garden and talk about new life and metamorphosis and Christ's resurrection
  • let Sister choose both books for Mom to read at storytime
One thing to notice about this list is that is NOT a list of ways for me to torture my children. About half the activities here are things my daughters actually LIKE doing. I want this experience to be enjoyable and I want them to learn that sacrifice is not just about doing something you don't want to do. I believe that sacrifice in itself has purpose (e.g. growing in a particular virtue) but that doesn't mean we should seek it out by itself without consideration for which virtue we need to grow in and therefore which sacrifice might help us grow in that virtue.

Linked with Works for Me Wednesday


  1. I like your list of age-appropriate ideas! My son was 5 when I fasted from buying things made or grown outside North America, and he was very interested in learning about where else things may come from and which things we could not buy until Easter. The same year, he decided for himself to fast from hearing the Sesame Street records his dad has had since childhood, which we had been playing regularly. It was amazing watching him wrestle with temptation but decide to stick to it for 6 weeks! When I told my cousin, she said that her son at about that age decided to fast from playing with his blocks, but after a week he changed to fasting from just the red and yellow ones. :-)

    1. Isn't it amazing what our children can do while still so young when we truly give them the opportunity?