The church where I attend does not officially observe Lent. Almost everyone, though, has some concept of this religious period of prayer and fasting. At the very least, most of us have heard the question: “What are you giving up for Lent?” Some people know the Bible basis for Lent which says we should fast, pray, and give alms. Perhaps, therefore, a better question than asking about our plans to deny ourselves would be: “How can I improve my relationship with my body, with God, or with others in need?”
Lent can be about more than just self-denial. It can be a time to focus on an area for self-improvement. Often, self-improvement strategies fall short unless you team up with someone for added support. With the goal of making a difference in your grandchildren’s lives, consider teaming up with one of your grandchildren!
I am going to challenge one of my grandkids to be more joyful during Lent this year (and hopefully beyond). At the age of
I’ve noticed one of my grandsons has fallen into this pattern as well. He complains about a variety of things: having to do his homework, not being allowed to watch as much TV as he would like, having limits on the time he spends playing video games, etc. I certainly don’t want him to be a “Grumpy Grandson.”
My plan is to have a “Put a Smile on It” competition with my grandson this Lent. Together we will make a Lenten calendar poster and track how we did each day with either a smiley or grumpy face. Whenever we get together, we will share our progress and the strategies we are using to overcome our respective “grumpies.” At the end of Lent we will count to see who has the most smiley faces on the poster. I plan to take him out to share a meal and discuss our Lenten journey and how we have improved in being joyful. No matter who has earned the greater number of “smiley faces”, in the end we both will win with our improved attitudes and dispositions.
God loves a joyful people. No more Grumpy Grandpas or Grandsons in our family!
For Discussion: Is there one of my grandchildren who might respond to a “Make Me Better” pact?
For Action: What could we both work on together?
Tim Shireman is the grandfather of four and a Grandly editor.
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