Sunday, March 23, 2008

Teaching my children about Easter

My kids know the Easter Bunny is not real. It was obvious to me how ridiculous the thought of the Easter Bunny was to their small, yet intelligent brains when #1, only 4 years old at the time, approached me and said, "Mom, is the Easter Bunny real?"

Of course, I wasn't going to lie about that. Santa? Sure! But not the Easter Bunny. "No, sweetie. He's just pretend." Her reply? "I thought so, mom. Bunnies don't walk around and hand out candy. They're just bunnies!"

How true, #1, how true.

Sarah asked me, in my last post, what I do to teach my children about the true meaning of Easter. It's easy, really. I just tell them. I explain that Easter baskets, eggs, treats, flowers, etc. are fun, but even though it's "fun", it still helps us learn of the Resurrection. #2 explained my thoughts best when she said:
"In the winter, all things die and go to sleep. But when spring comes, animals are born, flowers come out, and it's green! It's like Jesus --when he died it was like the wintertime, but when he becomed Resurrected, it was like the springtime!"

How true, #2, how true.
Anyway, we still do the fun stuff. Small Easter baskets with candy, a chocolate bunny here and there --some small toys, and usually new dresses and outfits. Sometimes we decorate eggs. Sometimes we do an egg hunt. And why not? Why not make the holiday fun? (and I wish I had pictures to show you, but hubby left this afternoon, and once again, I forgot to have him download the newest pictures. And I don't have the downloader-thingy! Oh, sure, the ones from last week are done, but what about this week? Guess we'll have to wait...)

The true meaning of a Christian Easter, of course, is never an afterthought. If anything, decorating the eggs is an afterthought. I don't buy Easter candy until a few days before. I don't break out the baskets until needed. In fact, this year, because of Brandon's crazy schedule, we had the kids wake up to Easter baskets on Saturday (yesterday). I know some families do this on purpose every year; not a bad idea in wanting to keep things separate.

Ooh! But at the same time, I had this thought: Why do the Spiritual and the Fun need to be kept separate? Why can't the fun be mixed in with the serious? There is a time for fun (and chocolate), yes. And there is a time for serious spiritual reflection, yes. But can't they happen on the same day? Without questioning the motive behind it all?

Well, with that aside, let me explain what we do to keep Christ at the center of our Easter. Besides explaining to our children the importance of the Resurrection (throughout the year --not just once), on the FHE before Easter, we have our big Easter FHE. (Hmmm...the redundancy of that last sentence was not lost on me). On Easter Sunday, we show short films about the Savior's life (like the one we received in the Ensign a few years ago). And we talk about it. A lot. Plus there's Church. My children have been blessed with amazing primary teachers who always emphasize the importance of the Savior on Easter. I've heard (via community blogging sites) that some wards don't celebrate Easter on Easter...? My reaction to that is "Wha?!" Having never seen something so strange as ignoring Easter on Easter (in my entire life), I can't begin to understand what they're talking about.
Anyway, that's what we do. I know it doesn't seem like much, but it's enough for us!
Speaking of Easter, today was the craziest (not bad --just crazy) one for me. I was at church by 7:50AM. I was subbing for the organist and choir accompanist. Plus I had a musical solo in Sacrament Meeting today. So, this is how the program went:

Prelude (me on Organ)
Opening Song (me on Organ)
Sacrament Song (me on Organ)
Youth Speaker
Musical Number (me on piano)
Choir Singing (me on piano)
Closing Song (me on Organ)
Postlude (me on Organ)
It was a Cheryl Sunday! Whoo-hoo! I was actually pretty grateful to the counselor in the Bishopric who mentioned how we're moving, so they were using me as much as possible. It made me feel less...less...important. Which is good. I already felt kind of dumb.
Oh, but it doesn't end there! Next was Primary. I play. I'm also the nursery music leader. Plus the Primary chorister was gone today, so between one Primary counselor and myself, we had to get through singing time. Fun times!
Sweet Brandon had the kids from 8AM until Noon (i.e. getting them ready for Church, sitting with them in Sacrament Meeting, taking #4 to Sunday School and YM's). So nice! But at the same time, I was so sad not to see him for so long (4 hours?!). I was even more sad that we had to take him to BART before 1PM. Didn't he just get here?!? :(

Now we are listening to the MoTab sing about Easter. And then we'll watch those movies I told you about. And relax. And enjoy our Sabbath Day. I hope you enjoy yours!

P.S. Spotlight Sunday will come tonight!


Kelly A. said...

We approach Easter pretty much the same way you do. What's wrong with a little candy now and then and a lot of spiritual and happy?

We do sugar cereal though because my husband abhors candy and hates the kids having it even more than he hates it himself. I however, am usually really sorry I didn't buy candy by 5 p.m. Sunday! :)

Our ward has all kinds of piano/organ issues. Only 3 people who play well enough to accompany and they are always grumpy about having to do so. I've never understood, and your saying you felt like it was "Cheryl Sunday" makes more sense to me. I've never looked at a music person pulling double or triple duty during the three hour block as someone who was over the top. I always just think "Oh they are so lucky that they can do that!" I can see how being early for prelude and playing until the room empties then playing for the next two hours in Primary would really be a load. Lucky you still though. I think Piano is the sexiest talent there is!

Happy Easter!

Jamie J said...

We did an Easter basket yesterday because we have church at 8:30 and I did want to keep them separate for my little girl's brain (considering our conversation a couple weeks ago LOL). I bet it was nice to sit on the stand on Easter Sunday and contemplate the resurrection.

For what it's worth I was pretty surprised at the blog you are talking about. I had never heard of wards not celebrating Easter on Easter... I love Easter Sunday. Enjoy your day with your family!

Sara said...

Thanks for posting this Cheryl! You're a great mom and I appreciate your ideas, especially since you've got older kids. Ruby can sort of SAY Jesus, but that's as much as we have taught her, and Max knows that Easter is to think about Jesus and that he lives in heaven w/ Heavenly Father. I suppose that's pretty good for an almost-3-yr-old. I ended up doing baskets after church and after naps and I didn't even tell them they were from the Easter Bunny. I'm with you on that one-- no need to pretend the Easter Bunny exists, but it's fun to see the bunny at the mall or whatever, sure. I just told them that Daddy and I had a surprise for them and then gave them their little basket w/ candy and a few dollar store toys. I wanted to do it yesterday but didn't get around to it. I read that idea in the ensign, I think?

Well, anyway... I like what you said. And I like, too, that you're all about the moderation. The spiritual mixed w/ the fun, of course. It's what memories are made of. And I must admit that I love seeing the excitement on the kids' faces when they see their easter baskets (or christmas stockings, etc)

long comment -- whew!

Cheryl said...

Well, thank you. To be honest, I don't mind playing at all; I enjoy my musical talents and I'm always willing to share. I just like to give other people a chance to do it, and I don't want people to think I'm doing it to show how wonderful/talented/righteous/blah I am, you know?

I like the sugar cereal idea!

Yeah, I thought that was weird. It's like it happened once in some random ward, and now the whole slew of bloggers are claiming it happens EVERYWHERE! So weird.

You're doing great! It's hard when the kids are little to really teach them some of this stuff, but they learn quickly, so why not start young? Just the fact that you're trying now is enough, for sure. :) Oh, and you're welcome. Oh, and long comments are welcome here. :)