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Lent as an Opportunity

March 9, 2011

photo courtesy of Simon Howden/

For those of you who may not know today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. While many people make a commitment to “give something up” (e.g., things like candy, wine, snacks, etc.) during this season, I have not found a way in my adult life to make that kind of commitment in a sustained and meaningful way. Instead, I try to make a commitment to do something that will have meaning for me in my efforts to become a more compassionate and loving person.

Recently I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit with my gratitude practice, so I am taking this Lent as an opportunity to recommit to that. The other night at family dinner we each discussed our plans for this Lent. I have to say that I was impressed with what my kids came up with – including making their own lunch and donating the money we usually spend for them to buy school lunch and saying nightly prayers. I’m hopeful that taking the time to think about it and share our plans out loud with each other will help us stay on track with our plans.

I look at this an opportunity similar to the opportunities to make change that are present at the beginning of a new school year or the beginning of a new calendar year. Whether or not you practice a faith with the tradition of Lent, I encourage you to take this opportunity of a new approaching Spring to focus for a time on making a positive change or habit in your life. Encourage your children to do the same, and support each other with your goals. At the very least, it will make for a very empowering dinner conversation!

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