Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 3, 2000
Share Lent calendar stirs gratitude
Children learn how much we have and how little belongs to others
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
By Easter, Jeremy and Nicolas Godbout will each be about $40 poorer.
It's not such a big deal for 12-year-old Nicolas, but Jeremy, 9, needs a little reminder of where the money is going.
Organized by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the annual Share Lent calendar is a list of daily activities, financially and in prayer, families can participate in during the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
It's a reflection of life in the Western world and the resources that are so readily available here. The list includes items such as donating $2 to CCODP for every computer in the house and praying for Guatemalan banana workers.
"I've been trying to explain to them about the Third World," said the boys' mother Terry Godbout. "With everything going on in Mozambique, it was a good way for them to see how little other people had."
This is the first year the Godbouts have turned Share Lent into a family project.
"For Nicolas it was no big deal," said Terry Godbout, a parishioner at St. Dominic Savio Parish. "For Jeremy there were a few tears.
"(The boys) are basically cleaning out their wallets."
But the boys are enthusiastic when they gather around the dining room table with their wallets wide open. They put in a dollar for the textbooks they have and another because there is a community centre near their home.
The money they offer up isn't money that was handed over to them. It was money they earned. The clean dining room table and vacuumed living room carpet are courtesy of Jeremy and Nicolas Godbout.
Through this project, Terry wants her sons to have an appreciation for what they have, especially the things they save for. She wants them to realize their video games and CD player are only a dream for Third World children who struggle for a proper meal.
"It's even hard to get them to realize that they have it better than some kids in this city," Godbout said.
Carole Moss also sees the Share Lent calendar as a learning experience and eye-opener for her two children, Breanne, 10 and Conner, 13.
Just before Lent, both of her children had asked for new clothes.
"And you know kids, their clothes don't come cheap," said Moss, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Calgary. "I thought (the Share Lent calendar) would be a good way of showing them how much they already have."
Moss said her children were excited to participate at first, but their tune changed when they realized how much they would have to dole out.
"It's a nickel here and a dime there, but it starts to add up," Moss said. "They start to realize how much they consume - for lighting or drinking water, even clothes.
"They're still asking for new clothes though, but at least they're willing to wait until after Easter for them."
Moss hopes the effects of Share Lent stays with her children. Not just the willingness to offer financial support for those who have less than they do, but also the spiritual part of it.
"(In the calendar) on Sundays, there are lots of suggestions for prayer. My daughter is the one who reminds us of it every week.
"She gets us together and starts asking God to look after all the poor people in the world. She goes on about it for a good 20 minutes. My kids have never really been very prayerful. It's nice to see that."
The Smolley family in Thorsby was invited to participate in the Share Lent calendar by their friends Jim and Marie Collins and Dianne Moir.
They have altered the calendar a little to reflect their lifestyle. They put in $1 for every kilometre they drove on March 14 and a nickel for every CD in the house. Candice Smolley, 15, ended up putting $6 to cover her CD collection.
"We did things that would be relevant to us," said Charlene Smolley, a new Catholic.
The Collins' sister is a nun in Peru, where some of the money from Share Lent will be directed.
"That really brings it closer to home for us," Smolley said. "We have a sense of what the money will go for."
Smolley said the calendar comes at an ideal time of the year - a time when everyone is rushing about preparing for spring and Easter.
"It makes you slow down because you have to read everyday what you can do for others," Smolley said. "It makes you think how things you have affect your lives.
"We take for granted things that are luxuries to others. Some people don't have enough to cook with and I have a dozen cookbooks. It's telling us how much we have to be thankful for."