Today, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, is the first day of Lent. For many Christians, this is a time of sacrifice and reflection.
One of the components we Catholics grew up with was giving something up for Lent. This aspect of the season, self-denial, can be important. But as I grow older, I have to ask what is the real purpose?
As a kid, I would count down the days until I could have candy again. As an adult, I would count down the moments until I could have a glass of wine. That just doesn’t seem right anymore.
This year I’m changing it up. My wife and I are giving up desserts and really anything with added sugar like donuts or my favorite cereals. Yes, I’m still a child in that I love Fruit Loops and Fruity Pebbles. They fool you with “fruit” in the name, but, believe me, they are full of unnecessary sugar.
Also, my family (me, wife, two oldest kids) are doing a plank-a-day challenge. From what I hear, two-year-old children should not do planks, so we are letting the baby slide this year.
These two things are much more targeted and are meant to create long-term habits versus short-term sacrifices. I’m not counting the days until I can have cake. Instead, I’m counting the days that I can go without until counting seems arbitrary. If our family can keep planking for years to come, I guarantee we will be a much fitter clan than we are now.
This year we are using Lent to grow closer to the people we want to be. My real hope is we won’t wait for Lent to make improvements going forward. Then that baby of ours will think to live this way is the norm, not a major life change. And my kids all deserve that…