The "Light of Confessions"
by Carole Asselin
used with permission
The idea for this activity came when I was looking for a way to prepare my third child for his first confession. I think the catechesis my children receive at the parish level is often less than inspirational. I'm also aware that all catechesis has its base in the home.
I wanted to make confession a visual reality and also wanted my son to see adults go to confession. I think so many kids have never seen their parents go to confession.
He was to do his confession in February and this activity took place before Christmas (on purpose). I explained to my three kids that your heart should be lit by your soul and shine bright white, just like a lightbulb.
Unfortunately, we do and say things we should not and each little (or big) mistake is like a speck of dust on your heart: a little one might not seem like much but they tend to add up!
I drew a big heart from white paper and placed it on the hallway wall. I also prepared small pieces of black construction paper.
Everytime someone realized they had done or said something wrong, that person would glue a piece of paper on the white heart.
At night, I would even ask them to remember if they had some more "dust" to put on the heart (they would also remind me too!). And when the heart started being quite "dirty", I set an apointment with our parish priest to go for confession with the whole family and to bring him our dirty heart. (I explained how I was teaching the children about confession and our activity as well, so that he would understand what we were talking about.)
When we arrived at the church, those who were old enough could make their confession and the younger ones would observe (from the other side of the door obviously!) and see that people are still OK after that. When it came the time to prepare for my son's first confession, I made one heart only for him and placed on his wall beside his bed.
This activity could be made anytime of the year, for any occasion or celebration. Things that make something abstract more visual really work well for children.