For most Catholics, Lent is seen as a time of sacrifice—of "giving up things in remembrance of all that Jesus did for us. As children, giving up candy or our favorite dessert was difficult and it helped us to grow in a spirit of sacrifice. But we often missed the point of this sacrificial giving up—the reason why it's important.
Lent is a time for helping us to grow beyond our selfishness to love others as Jesus did. The giving up is meant to help us realize the significance of giving to others.
Help your children to see the deeper meaning behind their their sacrifice. Recall for them Jesus' words at the last supper: "Love one another as I have loved you." ( John 15:12) To love others as Jesus loved others often demands sacrificing our own needs and wants, and this is what giving up things helps us to do.
Sharing our blessings with others is an important part of the way we celebrate Lent. Lent is a giving time. We share what we own. We work together to care for those in need. We pray or everyone who needs God's help and care.
Lenten suggestions for children:
Make friends with someone in your class or neighborhood who seems to be lonely or without friends.
Let each family member mention one person or problem that they would like to pray for in a special way at dinnertime.
Take the kids grocery shopping for the poor. Let them help you bring the food to the local food bank.
Let children light a candle at church for people throughout the world who are sick or hungry.
Tell someone who seems sad today how nice they look or compliment them in some other way.
Make a list of 10 things you are grateful to God for and thank God in a prayer for each one.
Share with a friend or neighbor something you have learned about your Catholic faith this year, and talk about how it has helped you.
Source:40 deeds for forty days