Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Easter continues every day
by Mary Cronk Farrell
(From the April 29, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)
The Easter eggs may be gone, but the Easter season is far from over. As our secular culture moves on to whatever new and improved fad comes next, itís our challenge as Christian parents to keep the spirit of Easter alive and thriving in our families.
My grade-school-age son seemed surprised when I told him that Easter was the most important day of the year. ďIsnít Christmas more important?Ē he asked. I explained that Jesusí resurrection was the central point of our faith, but ideas like the Paschal Mystery can be hard for kids to understand.
Concrete examples and stories from everyday life can bring the meaning of Easter alive for children. And it can help them to see that Easter is not just a holiday that comes once a year, but a way of seeing that defines the way we live everyday.
Here are a few ways you can help communicate the Easter experience of new life to your children.
Share and listen
ē Teach faith with a well-chosen word here and there, and an ear tuned to the truth of your childís experience. Exploring the reality of Easter with young children can be as simple as pointing out how Godís power heals a childís scratch, cut or broken bone.
ē Talk with your children about how the same power of God that raised Jesus from death is available to free us from our bad habits, our worries, and our problems. Take a moment and explain that Christís life is present in your family, and how sharing your troubles with others can help lessen the burden. Suggest how family members can encourage and support each other as they try to overcome bad habits.
ē We donít have to wait for heaven to experience new life and the joy of resurrection. Ask your children if they can think of examples.
ē Perhaps share with your children how daily prayer strengthens your faith. Ask them what strategies they use when they feel overwhelmed by chores or homework. Tell stories of hard times in the past and how God stayed faithful to your family and helped you come through struggles.
Hereís an easy way to see new life grow. Youíll need a plate, washcloth and seeds. Choose seeds that are not too tiny and germinate quickly like nasturtium, morning glory, cucumber or pumpkin. Dampen the washcloth and lay it on the plate. Evenly space seeds over half of the washcloth. Fold the other half over on top of the seeds and place in a sunny window.
Explain to your child that seeds appear after a plant flowers and dies back. Left on itís own; it would fall to the ground and die allowing a new plant to grow from it. Have older children look up and read John 12:24.
Your child can peek at the seeds every day. Keep the cloth damp, but not soggy. Within seven to ten days, the seeds should sprout and begin to grow roots. When the roots are about half an inch long, plant them into pots of soil or outside.
Hatch a chick
This project requires more time, expense and commitment, but watching a chick hatch from an egg is truly an unforgettable experience for children. Itís a powerful demonstration of new life coming forth. Contact your local farm supply store for fertilized eggs, incubators and instructions. Children enjoy feeding, watching and petting a fluffy chick, but be sure to have a good home lined up if you cannot accommodate a full-grown chicken.
An alternative is to arrange a visit to a local farm to observe chicks hatching, or newborn calves or lambs with their mothers. These types of experiences, once common for most children but now rare for suburban and city families, help bring home the mystery of new life, and inspire a sense of awe and wonder in our youngsters.
These are just a few of the myriad ways that we can acknowledge the power of new life in our lives and help our children see Easter in every day.
© 2004, Mary Cronk Farrell
(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and
childrenís writer. She is a contributing author to the new book Daughters of the Desert:
Stories of Remarkable Women from Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions, from
Skylight Paths Publishing.)
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