It’s easy for little kids to have the wrong impression of Lent. It can seem like it’s all about punishment and guilt. When I was a kid, teachers would tell us to give something up as penance for our sins. Since Jesus could resist temptation while fasting in the desert for forty days I can’t have chocolate. Imagine me as an eight-year-old bookworm who loves the epic tragedy of the story of Jesus, but still doesn’t see the point. I thought:
- If you don’t have to claim ownership of wrong-doing, why would you?
- If Jesus loves me he doesn’t want me to make myself sad over something trivial like chocolate. We pray “lead me not into temptation”, right?
- Authority figures placing seemingly meaningless limits on me offended my strong-will.
- People are boasting and competing. Which penance is most restrictive? Do you make it all the way through Lent?