Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Lord is My Shepherd.

Working on the Land of Israel relief map.

Sweeping and using a dust pan and brush. Cooperation at its finest.

Checking out Mary in the Annunciation work.
Today was our first day in the atrium during Lent. The first question of the day was, "Why aren't there any flowers?" I explained that we try to keep things more simple and plain during Lent so we do not have flowers in the atrium. We talked about how excited we will be to have them back again at Easter time. This is just one little way we help the young children understand the difference between Lent and Easter. To learn the joy of the celebration by holding off on something.

I hope you enjoy the photos above. I spent most of the morning watching the children choose work. Part of my role as a catechist is to observe. Through observation I can see how the children work together and as individuals, how they resolve problems and who needs a lesson on something. I challenge you to take time every day to just watch your children. Take an extra minute or two to observe their interactions before you step in to help or to "solve" a problem. Chances are if you give them a little space they will come up with a solution all on their own. What a gift you will give them.

As always when there is a change of liturgical season, we note that change with a procession and a new color on our prayer table. We talked about the season of Lent and how it is a time to prepare or get ready for the celebration of Easter. The children have LOTS to say about Easter and the traditions you have already instilled in them. We also learned about songs in the Bible called Psalms. They thought the word psalm was kind of funny. Most of the children know who David is but didn't know he wrote songs. I read from Psalm 23. We just read, "The Lord is my shepherd."

We talked about what a shepherd is and how he takes care of his sheep. We wondered how God is like a shepherd and how he cares for us. We remembered that Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd."

I love how our lessons come together throughout the year and how the children remember them and take little bits away with them. They are such a joy!

What you can do at home: Take time to observe your child. See what s/he gravitates toward. See how s/he plays and solves problems. Watching quietly often gives us a little better clue about our children's personalities. Do something special as a family for Lent. If you haven't set up a prayer table or space in your home, do so for this season. Let your children help decide what should go on the table. Go out into nature and see what is outside (not much right now!). Maybe take a nature walk each week of Lent to see how the world is waking up as we get closer and  closer to Easter. Let them lead the way. Remember that children at this age will often see the smallest thing. Give them the time and freedom to show you the world as they see it. This is one of the biggest gifts you can give!