What will you give up for Lent?
Even if you aren't Catholic, I think the tradition of Lent is a great one to share as a family. For those who didn't have a smear of ashes on their forehead every year for Ash Wednesday, here's the basics. Lent in 2010 will start on Wednesday Feb. 17 and will continue until Easter, April 4. You know that big party known as Mardis Gras? This is what it's all about, one last party on Fat Tuesday before you show your devotion to God with 40 days (Sundays don't count in the tally) of sacrifice and self discipline.
Last year I told my kids I was giving up yelling for Lent. After they pulled themselves off the floor in fits of laughter, they realized I really was serious. It's a bad habit to fall into and sometimes you have to make a concerted effort to pay attention to the triggers that cause it and do something different. I really did give it a good try but, let's just say I didn't do as well as I'd hoped.
So this year we are all going to come up with something and I wanted to open it up to the readers here on the blog for suggestions or to share what you are thinking of giving up.
This spiritual tradition, like so much else, has been co-opted by popular culture. It's why there are Mardis Gras parties and festivals well after Fat Tuesday. It's why IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day at the start of Lent. They aren't preparing for fasting, but they are doing good works. You can get free pancakes there on Feb. 23 and donate what you would have spent on breakfast to the Children's Miracle Network.
Last year, an Italian bishop suggested giving up text messaging, social networking Web sites and computer games for Lent. Talk about a sacrifice!
Some others ideas include giving up chocolate or coffee or even plastic bags and bottled water. For an Earth-friendly twist, check out these Green resolutions from the Daily Green.
By the way, I may have to once again commit to the yelling fast since it didn't really stick.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne