Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent for Little Ones

The season of Lent has officially begun, and we are all in! We began our Lenten journey with Ash Wednesday Mass and some tuna noodle casserole. (of course.) Lent has brought with it an interesting new challenge this year- I have a four year old son who asks questions about everything. I find myself fielding a continuous stream of "Why?" questions from the time he wakes up to the time he closes his eyes. Lots of his questions are easy, many of them are great, some are so silly I just fire them right back at him. Often he comes up with some pretty creative answers to his own questions.

But when it comes to questions of the faith, I try my very best to give straightforward answers that he can digest. NOT an easy task! And in a season that focuses on the suffering and death of our Savior, simple answers are even harder to come by. When he asks me, "Why did the soldiers put a crown of thorns on Jesus' head?" where do I even start? How do I explain sin and evil to a boy who still doesn't think anyone would ever purposely harm anyone?

So I'm putting it in God's hands, and I'm tossing up lots of quick prayers to the Holy Spirit for wisdom in those moments. And instead of focusing only on the pain and suffering that Jesus endured for us, we are focusing on the little things we can do to relieve His pain.

That's where this craft comes in. Together we made a Crown of Thorns, an idea that I first heard from some Catholic friends a few years ago and was reintroduced to just a few days ago. The baking directions I used are found here, and it was a simple project that both boys could be totally involved in. The idea is this: we made a braided crown out of salt dough, covered it in "thorns" (toothpicks), and baked it. Surprisingly (or maybe not...) I was the only one who managed to stab myself with a toothpick!

Throughout Lent, whenever the boys do something kind for someone or make a small sacrifice, they can remove a thorn from the crown. By Easter, we hope the thorns will all be removed, and we plan to paint the crown gold and decorate it with jewels to represent Jesus' triumph! Max is, of course, already stoked about this crown becoming a real King's crown, and every time he sees the crown he asks me for ideas of how to remove another thorn.

It's looking to be a very fruitful Lent!


Ruby Qualm said...

What a great idea! This is such a tangible way to make Lent real for little ones. Cool!

Monica G. said...

I love this idea. It brought a tear to my eye thinking of the boys trying to do good things for others and made me anxious to start making things like this a tradition in our family someday :)

Sarah Stanbary said...

I LOVE this idea... and next year... I may just steal it! You will rock at Home Schooling Taryn!