One new thing for us this Lent is keeping a weekly journal. The idea is from our Finding God curriculum that our children use in their Faith Formation class at our church. When I saw the idea, I thought it could work well on a weekly basis. So, I introduced it to my 5th grade class. The kids in the class created a simple journal with a cover page and a few blank pages stapled inside. They decorated the cover and/or back any way they chose. Then, I encouraged them to write the following items on the first page.
Temptations from the last week.
My plan for more prayer this week.
My plan for fasting this week.
My plan for giving this week.
My personal prayer to Jesus.
We kicked around some ideas for each of these categories, but I let the kids know that they are free to be creative.
I also told them that these journals were theirs. No one else was going to see them. They could fill in the categories as they wished.
Each week, I plan to give the kids time to review what they wrote and enter a new page with the same categories.
So far, they have completed two entries. I think this is a great way to get them thinking on a consistent basis about the movements of their hearts and what the Lord is saying to them about their choices for Lent. I think keeping this kind of journal provides a place to make Lent personal. It also makes it doable, since the observances are re-visited each week and can be changed if one wishes. And, it respects their age and stage in life. They have personal thoughts and reflections and these can grow and change as the weeks of Lent go by.
My hope is that this kind of exercise can help make the traditional observances of Lent more tangible and will aid in one's focusing their thoughts and energy not just on themselves, but on the larger body of Christ.