How to Get Started During Lent

3 Action Steps for Parents

If you want to improve your spiritual life [this] Lent, the best place to start is right where you are.

by Tom McGrath

Let go of a bad habit.

What would you list as your worst habit as a parent? Nagging? Inattention? Interrupting? Lack of time? Pick one habit and try, a day at a time, to let go of it. Jesus came to free the prisoners. If you feel like a prisoner to a bad-parenting habit, take advantage of Lent to loosen its grip on your life.


Strengthen a good habit.

Take a minute to write down three parenting skills that you're really good at: coaching, keeping a sense of humor, staying calm when everyone else is flying off the handle, taking care of the daily details, seeing the big picture. Pick one and think of how you can put this strength to good use on a daily basis. When the flu hits your household, you know how illness can be passed from person to person. But healthy living is contagious too. Exercising your strengths can benefit those you live with.

Ask God to lead you.

Every morning, first thing, ask God to help you be a better mom or dad. You have a mission from God to be the kind of parent your child needs. Sometimes when I'm worried about a difficult situation in my family, I think ahead to that situation and picture God already there. With the thought that God is present there, my attitude changes. My fear diminishes; my love grows. I no longer see it as a “godforsaken situation.”

Think of an ocean liner traveling the seas. A small change in its course will, over time, greatly change the destination. Lent is an opportunity to have small changes in your daily life make a big difference in your family over the long run. Practice Lent, right where you are. It's where God is waiting for you.

 Tom McGrath

Tom McGrath

Tom McGrath is a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition, as well as a writer and speaker whose mission is to help people experience a taste of the Divine.

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