Is Jelly a Dessert? Giving Up for Lent

My sons are currently doing their best to give up various things for Lent, which is surprising considering our family isn't exactly religious. One has even given up eating 'naughty' sweet things... but that doesn't have to include jelly, right?



I am happy to state here and now that I'm not religious. It's not a big thing, and I certainly don't judge people that are. I know that many draw a lot of comfort from attending church.

Even my Dad seems to have "seen the light". But when I asked him why he had suddenly decided to go to church, aged 76, he replied that, with not much of his life to go, he thought he'd better put in an appearance. Better late than never, appears to be his motto.

Bazinga! God vs the Universe

As for my kids, they attend chapel at school for special events, and have been known to go to the odd Christingle.

My eldest seems to be more of a believer than my youngest. This was confirmed when they entered into a heated debate about the creation of the Universe.

My 6 year old is a firm believer that God did not create the Universe, and is a strong proponent of the Big Bang Theory. But my eldest argued that even if the Big Bang Theory was true, God made the Big Bang happen. There was a lot of shouting, and then they turned to me to decide the issue. Like a rabbit in headlights, I mumbled something about having a lot of washing to do, and then diverted their attention with a big bag of chocolate buttons.

Amazing how chocolate can resolve any argument.

Kids giving something up for Lent

So it was with some surprise that both my children came back from school recently, announcing that this year they were both going to give up something for Lent.

My youngest son said "I'm doing this as a form of compensation for Jesus". Not entirely sure what he means by this, or if he knows what compensation means, and if he does, would Jesus feel that compensated?

Anyway, I was very surprised but also quite proud of them both for deciding to do this. All my previous attempts at Lent have failed, mainly because I set myself unattainable challenges such as giving up chocolate (lasted 4.5 days) and giving up alcohol (lasted less than 24 hours).

No more sticky toffee puddings!

My eldest has decided to give up sweets, chocolate and puddings. I thought that was very admirable as he normally eats 2 sticky toffee puddings every day, a couple of bars of Twix and the odd bag of Haribo.

When asked what he was going to eat instead, he said he was going to go for the healthy stuff at school. "I'll have fruit, yoghurt and some lettuce as well", he said. Hmmm, lettuce - not seen that as an option on a dessert menu before, but then perhaps his school has gone all Heston Blumenthal on us.

Then he piped up: "And I can have jelly sometimes too". "Doesn't that count as pudding, darling?" I said. "No mummy, it's not a pudding because it's made of water". Can't argue with his logic!

He nearly came a cropper when we went to the cinema last weekend. As a family I'm not sure what we enjoy more; the film, or the pick 'n' mix.

So when he was faced with the prospect of no sweets I thought we would have a meltdown. But he took it like a man, ignored his younger brother who was seeing how many cola bottles he could cram into the paper bag, and he ordered a hot dog instead.

Deciding what exactly to give up is tricky

Now when it came to my youngest son and deciding what to give up for Lent, he said he wanted to think it through and came up with the following options:

  1. Give up electronics: that would be quite some feat as my son believes he is in fact Steve from Minecraft and he counts down the hours until the weekend when he gets to play it. He has also decided he wants to be a miner when he grows up, taking his Minecraft obsession a step too far we feel.
  2. Give up talking in a baby voice: when I pointed out that he was 6 and doesn't talk like a baby anyway, he looked at me and went "Blah Blah Blah", just to prove me wrong.
  3. Give up swearing: again, I pointed out to him that he is 6 and therefore shouldn't be swearing yet, and anyway what swear words did he know? That was a mistake - the tirade that came out of his young mouth was shocking. I thought I was in a Tarantino movie.

Amazingly he has opted for the electronics embargo. We are a few weeks in and I can't believe he's stuck with it. My husband is so impressed he keeps on offering huge monetary rewards to them both if they keep it up. Which sort of defeats the whole object of Lent, and now I worry they are only doing it to get rich and not to be better people.

Perhaps we need to brush up a bit more on our RS and start attending church more often. Otherwise Jesus won't feel remotely compensated.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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