Why I Let My Son Eat Ketchup Sandwiches (During Lent)

Sorry about the video quality and background noise – it was a sick day at our house!

I was going to post the earlier today but my mom duties got in the way.  And by that, I mean my daughter was home sick from school today so we napped together this afternoon.  🙂  I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world.  They are growing up too fast!

Back to Lent.  I wish I could take credit for this gem, but sadly, I cannot.  My 5 year old learned this song in her Pre-K class and it is quickly becoming a favorite in our house.  It’s simple and to the point so the kids love it.  I am not sure where it originated, but if you know – please share it with us.

“Prayer and fasting,  all almsgiving,  we are meant, to repent.  40 days of sacrifice, being extra super nice, this is Lent, this is Lent.”

I asked my daughter what this means to her and she was quick to say that we should pray more during this time and give people our money.  Close enough for me!

Now my kids go to a Catholic school and mass with me on the weekends so they know that Jesus died on the cross to save us.  However, I do not get into the explicit details of his death with them.  I want to savor their innocence for awhile longer.  I have explained Lent to them very simply.  I told them that much like Advent is how we prepare for Jesus’ birth, Lent is how we prepare for Jesus’ death.  I remind them that Jesus died for us and we remember this and thank him by growing closer to him in prayer, by fasting as a “small” sacrifice for what he did and we also help others less fortunate just like Jesus helped us even though we didn’t and don’t deserve it.

What does that look like in our home?  We pray every night before dinner as a family and before bed we tell Jesus what we love about this life as a way to say thank you.  We give up television during these 40 days and also have our kids abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of lent – even though they do not have to due to their ages.  You may not think this is a difficult sacrifice, but trying telling my 7 year old he cannot have a ham sandwich for lunch or my 5 year old that she cannot have a hot dog.  You would think I took away ice cream!  So this is where the ketchup sandwich comes in.  My 3 year old was so upset that he could not have his hot dog that he refused to eat anything but ketchup on a bun.  Little does he know, I consider this a parenting win!

Lastly, I asked my daughter what “repent” means.  She stared blankly at me for several moments before I caved.  I explained how repentance is being honest when you do something wrong and asking for forgiveness.  That simple.  I reminded her of the time she got up in the middle of the night, snuck into our basement and ate a whole brownie that was my sister-in-law’s.  There were plenty of crumbs as evidence.  Instead of telling the truth, she made up a very elaborate (and well orchestrated) story about how she followed our 3 year old downstairs and was just helping him back to bed.  Unfortunately, he was asleep in our bed the entire time.  Anyway, back to repenting!  I told her that if she would have just told us the truth that she would have been in far less trouble and that she would have made Jesus very happy by making things right with her parents.  My kids have really clung to this one for some reason.  I think they feel more grown up when they “repent”.  It has also led to them being more patient with one another and finding forgiveness when it is not always easy to do.

I hope this helps some of you out there.  Next week I will talk about another simple activity for kids to do during Lent that is also something my kids are doing at school.  It really focuses on the needs of another and I think it’s amazing how their attitudes can change by doing something for someone besides themselves.

Have a great weekend!  Drop me a line about what you and your family are doing for Lent this year.

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