How do you teach your children the significance of Holy Week? How do you teach them what Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter mean? This week I want to make some suggestions of possible ways to accomplish this.
Think in terms of creating two things - events and traditions. Events are generally one-time things that will stick in the minds of our children for a long time and relate to the Easter message. To be effective the event has to be tied to the Easter message and be memorable. Either one without the other will not accomplish the purpose.
My wife likes to tell about a very memorable Easter when she was a young girl. The family came home from Easter morning services and went to change clothes for lunch. When they returned, they saw the lunch was composed of three kinds of ice cream and about a dozen toppings. They could each have as much as they wanted. While her parents were normally quite conservative and frugal, this was a one-time event. She will always remember it. Her mother explained that God's love was lavish just like this lunch. She said that God sending His only son to die for all our sins is as crazy and unexpected as eating ice cream and toppings for lunch. She'll always remember that connection.
A tradition on the other hand may not be remembered individually, but the consistency of doing it each year causes it to stick. Of course many people go to church on Easter, but I would hope that we do that each week. If not, that's a great place to start. What about reading the Easter Gospel account together with the family each Easter right after lunch? Or what if you as parents told what Easter means to you?
This is a good place to be creative. What is something that you can do each Easter consistently that will cause your children to understand Easter and to have a pleasant memory of it? Please give this some serious consideration and prayer. We are in danger of turning Easter into a secular holiday rather than a religious one. The real meaning of Easter is that God sent his son into our world to live the perfect life for us, to suffer for our sins, to die on our behalf, and then to rise again as we will too someday rise and go to heaven with him. That's the message we want our children to remember -- not the Easter Bunny or Easter eggs.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal