Reblogging since it’s Lent again.
I’ve been pretty public about the fact that I’m an ex-Catholic. And of all the things about the Catholic Church that I might miss, Lent is most assuredly NOT on that list. Half the time, my birthday would fall in Lent (my birthday is Feb. 14), and while my parents were as cool as possible on the day of my birth, usually the next day I was expected to abstain from sweets or whatever I was giving up that year (usually it was sweets – most of us in the house were trying to lose weight, so maybe not the noblest of choices, but there it is). I have seen a couple of my fellow bloggers post about choosing to do Lent, and it’s all I can do to restrain myself from asking them, “Why would you observe Lent [i.e. punish yourself] voluntarily? Do you hate yourself that much?” (See…
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2 thoughts on “Is giving stuff up good for you?”
I’m always (yes, always) surprised by the attention given to candy during Lent. Perhaps it’s the observance of Fat Tuesday by many cultures. When my son was an altar server in grade school, we talked about Lent and the purpose of giving something up. He was a fan of “going for grace,” giving something up that represented more than a token. He wondered if he had habits that prevented him from being a better human being. It was impressive in a kid who wasn’t planning on being a priest (a common enough assumption for boys who were altar servers). So, one year he gave up video games and I gave up cursing. He would come home from school, finish his homework, and curl up with a book (TV was off limits until after dinner). I would think before I spoke, try and throw cold water on my short fuse, and otherwise be a kinder, gentler person. After Easter, we both continued the new habits we had developed. He chose to limit his Nintendo use and continued reading our library of classics (for a pre-teen that’s something). I got a promotion, due to a “surprising but welcome curtailment of snap judgments.” All three of us (my husband included) are lapsed-Catholics now. While I don’t observe Lent anymore, I think fondly of it, perhaps because we stopped thinking about it as “giving up candy” but rather “giving up a bad habit.”
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Oh, I have a whole other holiday for giving up bad habits (if you want, my entries on the Kemetic New Year talk about it). But it sounds like you guys went a bit deeper for Lent, and that’s a good job. I’m impressed by your kid, and by you.
My mother once gave up smoking for Lent, and never picked it back up. That too is a bad habit. But I guess she could only give it up once. 🙂
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