Sometimes the Young People Surprise Me

Sometimes the young people surprise me. Such was the case at the beginning of Lent, when I led a session on the season that focused on Christ’s temptation in the desert. I asked the young people what they already knew about Lent. An informal assessment of their previous knowledge, the question gave the students an opportunity to tell me things such as the season was 40 days and that they got ashes on Ash Wednesday. […]

First Sunday of Lent, Year A: Confident in God’s Protection and Faithfulness

What’s your security blanket? For young children, security blankets and other such comfort objects are healthy things. They are “transitional objects” to ease the trauma of separating from their mothers. However, we all must eventually cut the apron strings and leave our security blankets behind. Unfortunately, we tend to replace our plush toys with more sophisticated security blankets, not to ease the anxiety of our separation from our mothers, but to ease what we sense as […]

First Sunday of Lent, Year C

In Luke’s Gospel, the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert appears just after Jesus’ baptism and before Jesus begins his public ministry. We can imagine this as a time of transition, a turning point in Jesus’ life. Perhaps we can liken it to one of the important turning points in our own lives: the decision to marry, the birth of a child, the acceptance of a new job, or the decision to move to […]

The Serpent and Temptation – “He Kept Coming at Her”

Perhaps the most interesting part of our session last evening, as we explored the consequences of not trusting in God (via the story of Adam and Eve) was when one young lady pointed out that the serpent “never gave up” but kept coming at Eve until she gave in. What a great insight! We picked up on that right away and talked about how that happens to kids with peer pressure: we might say no […]

Good Voices & Bad Voices

The most successful part of yesterday’s class was our discussion of which voices we should listen to in order to shape a good conscience and which voices we need to avoid or “erase” in order to avoid temptation. First, I brought in a mini-cassette recorder and passed it around so that each child could say something which they really enjoyed. I played it back and they all got a kick out of listening to themselves […]

First Sunday of Lent – Needs vs. Wants

Here is an outline from the Sunday Connection for reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13, Jesus’ Temptation) with intermediate age kids (grades 4, 5, 6). Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6) Older children are learning to distinguish between the things they need and the things they want. We can help them to resist negative temptations by teaching them to distinguish between needs and wants. Materials Needed (Grades 4, 5, and 6) Poster […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days—Lenten Activities: Avoiding Temptations

Avoiding Temptations Arrange the young people in pairs and invite them to brainstorm a list of temptations that young people their age can try to avoid during Lent. (Examples: gossiping, calling people names, being lazy, and so on.) Then, have them identify strategies for resisting temptation. (Examples: praying, doing another activity to avoid thinking about the temptation, talking to a parent, teacher, or older friend/relative, and so on.) Have each pair report their ideas to […]