The seven-year-old said he'd rather go to Mass; the six-year-old said he'd skip eating for the day. But then I reminded him that tomorrow's plan included going to Denny's for breakfast after Mass and meeting up with his cousins and their mom. So he decided that going to Mass was the best choice after all, but said I "tricked them into it."
I said, "Not really. If we we're going to 'fast' from Mass wouldn't it be good to fast from eating as well to remind us to hunger and thirst for Jesus." I don't think he's convinced. But when you're a little boy who has a hard time sitting still for two minutes, Mass really is a challenge and a temptation to poke your brother. I spent a lot of time suppressing a smile this morning remembering my own child-rearing challenges at Mass.
Larry and I always try to match daily Mass with something fun for the kids: lighting candles, a trip to the doughnut shop or Seven-11, etc. We'd like the children to associate going to Mass with positive things. It would be easier to skip the daily ritual when we have grandkids visiting, but we like to keep our own little daily "rule" as well as remind the kids of what's really important in life. We pray that the lessons we offer became a source of grace-filled memories that increase their desire to put first things first.