By Susan Ciancio
As we ring out the old and bring in the new, it feels like we have the opportunity for a fresh start. And it seems only natural to want to make some changes. That’s why many people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year.
Unfortunately, most of these resolutions are kept for a few weeks and then forgotten or brushed aside as life gets in the way.
That’s why we wanted to help you make small changes and offer suggestions for things you can do throughout the year to help create a culture of life in your family and in your community. These things don’t require a daily commitment, and you don’t have to do each one, but each makes an impact. So whether you do one or all, you, your family, and people in your community will benefit.
1. Attend the March for Life
This is a great way to give a voice to preborn babies. If you can’t attend, watch on TV with your family and talk about the importance for standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. You can even teach your children about Nellie Gray, the woman who started the March for Life, with our downloadable lesson.
2. Donate to pregnancy care centers
Clean out your closets and give gently used clothing to women at pregnancy care centers or to people at homeless shelters. You could also go shopping for new toys or diapers for the children living in these centers. Make it a fun Saturday event. As you do so, talk about the importance of caring for others and how your acts are part of the Corporal Works of Mercy.
3. Learn about the saints
Each day of the year is a feast day for multiple saints. Find a good saints book, or look up the saint of the day online, and spend a few minutes talking about how each member of your family can try to become like this saint. This is an easy thing you can do as often as your schedule allows. You can even check out our Saints and Heroes Starter Bundle for middle schoolers and older. This awesome package is full of lessons about saints who will help your student or children learn to be like them.
4. Make a Lenten promise
During Lent, we often give things up, but this year, let’s strive to do something for others. Whether it’s praying daily for someone’s intentions, offering up suffering for someone who’s sick, or giving our time to someone who needs our help, there are many things we can do to show others that they matter and that we value them.
5. Make a special Easter basket
Everyone loves a basket full of goodies! Maybe there’s an elderly neighbor on your street, maybe you know someone at church who will be home alone on Easter, or maybe you just want to bring joy to people living in nursing homes. Create a special basket full of fun and useful gifts and goodies. It doesn’t have to just be candy. Fill it with items specific to this person and his needs. Have your children help you pick things out and go with you to deliver it.
6. Help the lonely
We have lived nearly a year with conditions that have left many people feeling lonely and stressed. Maybe it’s someone in your family, or maybe it’s someone in your neighborhood or church. Give that person a call, send a card, or stop by to say hi. Let him know you have not forgotten about him.
7. Pray as a family
We all know people who need prayers. We need prayers! Whether you say a few Hail Marys, a couple Our Fathers, or some or all of the Rosary, take some time every day to pray together. Strengthening your prayer life strengthens you individually and as a family.
8. Volunteer together
Most communities have countless opportunities for volunteers. You could help sort clothes at a homeless shelter, help serve food, help at a food pantry, or help with activities at a nursing home. There’s so much to do! You need only look for something that will fit your family dynamics.
9. Pray in front of an abortion facility
Children of any age can do this, and you can discuss as much or as little as you want—depending on their ages. Whether you tell them you’re there praying for moms and babies or you give more details is up to you.
10. Do random acts of kindness
Random acts brighten people’s days and help them feel valued. They, then, are more likely to pass this kindness along to others. Have your children help with ideas. You could pay for the person behind you in line at a fast-food restaurant. You could leave a kind note (with or without a few dollars) on someone’s car telling them to have a good day. You could hand out flowers to random people on the street or in a store. You could buy a gift card for someone in need. The possibilities are endless!
When we begin this new year on a positive note and make the decision to be more Christlike, we are helping to build a culture of life in a society that is in dire need of love, respect, and the acknowledgment of dignity and value.
Happy New Year from all of us at the CLSP! We pray you have a blessed year, and we thank God for each of you!