For Lent, we filled a little glass jar with little slips of paper. Each morning during Lent we pick one to help us in our observance for that day.
There are "5 minute tidies", or "no TV", or "bake something for someone else", or "plan a special dinner and invite company", or "spend 20 minutes extra on music". i try to talk with the little ones about taking the time to remember how these tiny sacrifices are to help us focus on our Jesus - and to look forward to remembering the Great Sacrifice he made for us...
Yesterday, the slip that was chosen read, "Silent Supper".
We always include several silent suppers because it makes neil so happy.
i figured it would be pretty challenging with a three year old and a one year old in the mix - and we prepped the littles that as soon as we said grace, that we would try to hold our words until the end of the meal.
Ephraim made little baby squeaks and noises - and there were a few insistent thrusting index fingers when people wanted to be passed the bread or needed more water, but for the most part, i was pretty impressed with our tiny fry and their efforts to keep supper silent.
Just as we were finishing, suddenly Gagey pushed his empty plate away and announced in a clear voice, "i don't like this food..." and got up and marched away.
We all burst out laughing - and the supper and the silence were ended.
& maybe to some little ones, this tiny formality is barren.
But maybe to others - there will be a seedling planted - a teeny arrow scratched in a dirt path, "This way, little ones... come this way..."
& then - the softening begins - and the hearts are made ready - to enter into relationship with their Rescuer.
And every effort - has value and worth.