Lent 2011

About a month ago it came to me what I should give up for Lent this year.  I struggled back and forth about it because it’s something really big for me.  I really tried to talk myself out of it, but I knew deep down I was just making excuses to avoid doing something that I didn’t want to do.  So, for Lent 2011 I’m giving up reading books for my own pleasure and recreation.

These were some of the excuses for not giving up reading books for pleasure:

  1. Our new library building opened two days ago after being closed for a month.  For a month I’ve been getting by on the stuff I stocked up on before the old building closed, and as much as I loved it most of that month was taken up by reading Anna Karenina.  I’ve added a bunch of new books to my prospective reading list, and now I can finally see about getting some of them in.
  2. I usually do a lot of reading during the three hours that I sit outside Bailey’s gymnastics each week.  I’ll need to find something else to fill that time.
  3. I also do a lot of reading at night while I sit on the floor waiting for Piper to fall asleep (she won’t go to sleep unless I wait in the room).  It gives me something to do while I’m waiting, and focuses my attention off of her making it easier for her to focus her attention off of me and go to asleep.
  4. I could get sucked into wasting more time on the internet.
  5. I might actually have to engage with my kids more.

This fifth excuse is the main reason that I felt that I should give up pleasure reading in the first place.  Katie would often ask me to sit with her to watch television; I would sit with her but I would read my book instead.  After hearing her order me to put my book down for the five millionth time, it finally sunk in that maybe my recreational reading was leading me to be more selfish.

As for the rest of my excuses, I figure the new library will still be there when Lent is over.  And I’ll still be picking out books to read to the kids.  I usually read about 90 books a year for myself, so this year I might read five or ten less.  If I live for the next 50 years, I should still be about to get in 4500 more books before I die.

I will probably end up taking my laptop with me to gymnastics more.  But I think I’m also going to institute a no comment policy for Lent as well.  This means I won’t comment on anyone else’s blog or Facebook page (beyond hitting the “Like” button).  I think this would be a lesson in humility as well as help me avoid being sucked into contentious arguments online which are total time suckers.

The only real exception I’m going to make to my book rule is that I am hoping to borrow a book of Lenten meditations to read at Piper’s bedtime.  I was also tempted to exclude a homeschooling curriculum book that I’ll need to go through to finish up our history plans for next year, but that is not something that has to be done before Easter.  I’m hoping that during these 40 days I will use my usual reading time to spend more quality time with my family on earth and in heaven.

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3 Comments on “Lent 2011”

  1. Cable Says:

    I think you are missing the fact that to create children who love to read we must not only read to them but model that reading for enjoyment is a lifelong activity. You reading for pleasure in front of your girls shows them that reading is a fun alternative to the computer and television. That being said, 40+ days is not going to hurt in the long run.

    • barboo77 Says:

      Oh, my kids can have no doubt that I enjoy reading; that’s why it is such a sacrifice for me. Any virtue can be taken too far and become a vice. So, I am hoping that this reading fast will help me to find a better balance between indulging in my favorite leisure activity and giving my family more quality attention.

  2. Laurke Says:

    You are my hero 🙂 I have not been able to agree with myself yet what to give up this year! Not that I’m Catholic, but I think its a great practice.


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