Visual aids

All of our little blessings have great enthusiasm for art and craft projects, and we make it a point to do something creative with them each day. Granted, the girls always have some sort of coloring pages included in their schoolwork, and Mr. Man and Baby Guy, if they are around, clamor for crayons and paper of their own while their sisters are doing their lessons.  However, they like to get into something that’s not an actual assignment as well, so we keep plenty of Play-Doh, magic paint posters, tempera, watercolors, craft kits, pompons — oh, you get the idea.  If Martha Stewart could get over the dry heaves the general condition of our house would give her, she’d be impressed with the selection of craft supplies.

Every liturgical season at our house comes with its own long-term project, though.  We are currently in the season of Lent, when those of our faith are called to reflect and repent.  This is kind of a tough concept for small children, who, while they are perfectly well aware of the need to say, “I’m sorry” when they’ve transgressed a rule.  We wanted them to have some way to see the impact of their works of kindness and their sins against others, particularly against each other, that would make sense to them.  As a result, our hall closet is currently covered with a huge sheet of paper, on which has been taped a large construction-paper cross.  Each time one of the kids does something really ugly, we put a nail on the cross (the two oldest are sufficiently familiar with the life of Christ that they knew he was nailed to a cross, and Mr. Man has poked his finger on a nail, so  he knows they’re not nice things); each time one of them does something kind, or makes a good decision, we put a flower around the cross.

This is what it looks like — I apologize for the poor photo quality, but the hallway is narrow and getting the shot is a huge challenge:

I love that there are far more flowers than nails, and the flower population is growing day by day.  Even better is that, while it started out as both of the girls pointing out their own actions that were flower-worthy and their siblings’ (and, yes, sometimes their parents’ — we’re not exempt) nail-worthy transgressions, both Beanie and Bugaboo are developing the habit of admitting their own faults and celebrating their siblings’ kindnesses.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for the reassurance that Your blessings are developing good consciences, and a desire to treat others with kindness.  You ordained this season of reflection for us to assess our own actions and to redouble our efforts to extend a merciful hand to those whom You have blessed differently.  Thank You for the means to share Your bounty, and thank You for the love Your blessings have for us, each other, and You.


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