Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

During Lent, should we make our kids fast?


By annyan_jp | Shutterstock

Edifa - published on 02/18/21

Fasting, abstinence. and other sacrifices can seem like inconveniences, but they help our children grow spiritually.

It’s always surprising to observe the dread that takes over some of us in the beginning of each Lent. The very thought of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday makes one cringe. We dread fasting so much and sometimes try to get out of it, claiming that what matters most is building a stronger relationship with Jesus and giving alms to charities. Fasting can be a challenge for those of us who live in a consumer-oriented society and have never experienced real privations.

But let’s try to be objective. The Church invites us to express our love for Jesus through abstinence and fasting. And doesn’t depriving ourselves for someone else’s sake an expression of our love for them?

Fasting as a family helps to be stronger

We can even insist that our kids temporarily give up treats and goodies like chocolate and Netflix without worrying about missing out on what matters most. We can offer the Lord our abstinence as a symbol of love and solidarity with His suffering. And when the time comes we’ll celebrate Easter, with a renewed sense of joy for being saved, symbolized by the return of all these good things!

Lent is an opportunity to convert and focus more on God. We are asked to give up the material things to concentrate on the divine. And penitence allows us to do this. But is it too much to ask of our kids? (Do keep in mind that small children should not be expected to fast.) This would be to underestimate them and their spontaneous desire to emulate Jesus.Concealing the truth about Lent from our kids will prevent them from accomplishing great things beside this sacrifice. No one can question their ability to say from the bottom of their hearts: “It is for You, Jesus, that I do this.”

Fasting and abstinence allows all of us to fully experience the joy of Easter. Forty days without a few of our favorite things may seem like a lot, but it can demonstrate our fidelity and devotion. Don’t we expect the same from those we love?

Inès de Franclieu

Croagh Patrick

Read more:
8 Old Irish Lenten traditions

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
New study shows that these 2 childhood habits make you a happier ...
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Bret Thoman, OFS
“Jesus, you take care of it”: Prayer of a priest Padr...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More