Friday, February 16, 2018

Seven Tips to get Older Kids Excited about Lent

1. Make it a Challenge
For most kids, the thought of sacrifice and penance isn't too exciting. But, the idea of succeeding at a challenge is right up their alley. Work with your kids to find a sacrifice that will be challenge for both of you. The two/four/ten of them can motivate, encourage, or embarrass the others so you can all succeed with your Lenten goals.

2. Teach It
Tweens and Teens want to know WHY. As a teacher, I use this PowerPoint and guided notes to teach our faith. I work with a variety of students--some are firm believers in the faith and are excited to demonstrate it with their sacrifice. Some students are proud to say that they are atheists, but are still shockingly full of questions about our faith. (BTW--as a teacher, I am thankful DAILY that I did the Bible Timeline bible study so I am prepared for many questions.) This week, I was asked if Catholics believe in ghosts. Does anyone know the answer to this? I remember seeing something about it in the Catechism, but I couldn't find it when I needed it.



3. Track It
I use these goal sheets with my kids and my students so they can see their progress as they fast, pray, and give.

4. Personalize It with a Project
The students make their own Stations of the Cross Presentations. The students create prayers and connections to engage with the Stations of the Cross. Inevitably, at least one student will copy something from the internet, but that's easy to catch, thanks to Google!

I'm tempted to try this with my Junior High Kids. I doubt that it will be reverent, but I think it will actually be very educational...Let me know if you try it with older kids!

5. Individualize Goals
Help the students come up with their own Lenten Goals. Things that might sound ridiculous to me might be the perfect challenge for my 10yo. I once worked with a 16yo that gave up her hair straightener for Lent. It was difficult, but I was amazed when she made it through! She did celebrate every 'mini-Easter' and straightened her hair every Sunday, but she wore the curls proudly throughout the week.

6. Moderation is the Key
Some older kiddos may want to GO BIG with their Lenten goals and fast for an entire day, or give ALL of their money to charity. They feel the spirit and want to show their fervor in extreme ways. On one hand, this is great, but realistically, I want my students to be successful with their goals. If the set the goals too high, or set too many goals, they will be miserable or fail hard by week two. I want to set my students up for success by encouraging realistic and possible goals.

7. Teach about Grit and Willpower
Grit is a semi-recent educational buzzword....with good reason. I have some students who aren't strong believers, so they are not willing to give something up to mirror Jesus' sacrifice. For those kids, I remind them that building grit is essential to success as adults. They can use this time (and these assignments) to increase grit and better prepare themselves for LIFE.

Linking up with Kelly!