I’ve chatted with a few families who were concerned they hadn’t done all the acts so far or were getting behind. That’s not a problem! Seriously. Honestly. It’s not. Would you berate another family for not doing 40acts ‘correctly’? No? So don’t berate yourself.
It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others or to the perfect picture we have in our head. Jesus never demanded perfection from people, but instead met them where they were. Expecting too much of ourselves can lead us to give up doing something fab like 40acts, which would be sad. Instead, let’s be generous to ourselves: let’s be flexible and do this generosity thing in a way which works for our family.
How? Here’s a simple question: What are we aiming to do this Lent? I’m aiming to practise being more generous, to use the generous activity ideas to inspire creative generosity. I’m aiming to be intentionally generous as a family, to talk about it, plan ways to be generous and hopefully make generosity something we do more naturally after Lent. Maybe some of your goals overlap with mine, maybe you have others goals.
Pause for a moment to think about what you’re hoping to achieve.
Now we know what we’re aiming for, let’s do 40acts in a way which works for our family and helps us achieve our goals. I know my girls like sticking a sticker on a chart each day, so we’re aiming to read the chart each day, without beating ourselves up if we forget. We’re also taking our generosity kits out with us (when we remember!) and doing simple acts like giving chocolate coins to people we meet. This is helping us to practise generosity every day-ish.
I know families are already doing 40acts in lots of different ways. One family has already ticked off all the generous things they have already done without having to try. They then read all the acts and chose some they were keen to do and started to make plans. Another family have told me that they have started the chart in half term when they have more time to focus on it. If you’re using the Exploring Generosity book or online family materials you might like to use those are a focus during your week off school. Our church has set up a social media group to share ideas and photos from both individuals and families doing 40acts. You can also share your photos and ideas on facebook, instagram or twitter using the tag #40acts. Another family I know are going away for most of Lent, so they’re planning to take things with them for a generous adventure.
What’s a good way for your family to be more generous this Lent? Do that.
And have fun. Sorry, did I not say it’s supposed to be fun? Yes, that’s one of the rules. Know what you’re aiming for, be flexible, be generous to yourself, and have fun.
And the relevance of the pencils? I bought a set of these luscious pencils for my children, and a set for me. It’s important that we know how to be generous to ourselves as well as to others. As Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind ... and love others as much as you love yourself.””
Do get in touch and say how you’re making it work for you. You could inspire other families to have a go too.