As I was putting my kids to bed Tuesday night the conversation turned to the following day, Ash Wednesday.
"So have you guys thought about what to give up? Remember that these little sacrafices are to teach us self control, but also to remind us that there are many in the world that need our prayers, and we can offer our temptations, frustrations and sufferings as prayers for those less fortunate..."
Oldest son: "I'm giving up annoying my teacher (me), therefore, I will not be attending school for the next 40 days..."
younger son: "Me too! I'm giving that up too!"
5 yr old daughter: "I'm giving up desserts! and candy and sugar! I'm going to eat vegatables and be healthy!"
younger son: "you're dumb, Helaina..."
Helaina: "I am not! YOU'RE DUMB!!"
Thus in a matter of nano-seconds the conversation turns to wrestling, screams, and whining before I get a chance to regain control of the situation.
"Okay, you're all very funny, but in all seriousness, it's not a "sacrafice" if it doesn't hurt at least a little. For example, should I give up living in a mansion for Lent?.... hhhhmmmm... I DON'T LIVE IN A MANSION!! So where would be the sacrafice?... Should I give up eating brussel sprouts? I HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!... How about we give up, as Helaina suggested, desserts, candy, sweets, extra helpings, soda... all those special little "treats" that we like so much but don't really need?....
Oldest son: "well can we still have chocolate milk?"...
"Well, gosh Tyler, do you think it will be THAT hard to do with out?... Or do you want to double up on your chocolate milk to make up for all the other stuff you'll be doing without? is that a sacrafice?... How 'bout we save chocolate milk for Sundays during lent?..."
Helaina and Noah: aaaalllllrrrriiiiiight....
Noah: "how long is lent?"
Tyler (oldest): 40 days! (with disgust in his voice....)
Me: "well, Tyler, it's ONLY 40 days... I think you'll live... giving up goodies, shouldn't kill you... If I think we might be pushing it and it gets too close to call, we'll have to re-evaluate the situation then... If it doesn't hurt at least a little bit, it's not a sacrafice! "
"anything else?... so when we feel frustrated, or it's really hard, because we want a treat REALLY BAD, we can remember to say a prayer, instead, in our hearts... 'dear Jesus, this is really hard right now, because I REALLY want that treat, but I'm going to offer this up as a prayer for.... -fill in whatever you want to pray for... Uncle Chuckie, his Dr.'s, maybe for children that have nothing to eat or nowhere to sleep tonight, or maybe for the parents that are looking for jobs to feed their kids... lots of stuff..."
Noah and Helaina: "oooookaaaaaay...."
Tyler: "Mom, I know what I'm going to give up...."
Me: "what, Ty?"
Tyler: "I'm going to give up thinking that doing without all that stuff is gonna kill me..."
Me: "sounds good to me..."
A Blessed and cleansing Lenten season to you all... May this special season draw you ever closer to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and to His Blessed Mother, Mary!