As we enter the liturgical season of Lent, we are reminded that although created in the image and likeness of Christ, we are far from achieving perfection. We make mistakes, we allow the ‘little things’ to get to us, and we lose our patience with one another. Every day we are confronted by temptation, perhaps to eat an extra helping of dessert or say an unkind word to the driver who cut us off on the highway; however, it is these small temptations that serve as a reminder that bigger temptations await us, and that if we cannot master the small temptations we are not likely to be able to resist the major temptations that will certainly come.
Perhaps one of my favorite units in the fourth grade curriculum is our reading of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Most of the students are familiar with the story as they have already read it aloud at home or seen the movie and yet the excitement to read and discuss it in the classroom does not wane. As we read the novel, one of the characters who is always a great topic of discussion is Edmund. Some students immediately dislike him because he betrays the others, while others view him as a more sympathetic character who falls victim to the White Witch.
Edmund is first tempted by the Turkish Delight. He is easily overcome by temptation as he devours the candy, all the while revealing information to the White Witch. Edmund betrays Lucy when he lies about being in Narnia. He betrays his siblings when he agrees to bring them to the White Witch. He betrays Aslan and the Beavers when he sneaks away to tell the White Witch where they will meet. Again and again Edmund gives into temptation, which is a struggle we face daily. My students and I always laugh when we read that the White Witch promises Edmund rooms and rooms filled with Turkish Delight. It seems comical to think of a room filled only with candy, but for Edmund it is a symbol of his inability to resist bodily pleasures. He does not realize that if given the opportunity he would eat and eat until he killed himself. Similarly, the more often we allow ourselves to give into temptation, the weaker we become and the more readily we are to give into temptation until it consumes us. We are all familiar with the Catholic practice of “giving something up” for Lent. Many choose to give up sweets or similar temptations. These may seem trivial things to give up, but it is not so. Giving up some minor pleasure that we enjoy in life is practice for the bigger temptations which life will inevitably throw at us. Spending forty days of giving up Turkish Delight will help us resist the temptation to help the White Witch take over Narnia. Let us pray that all of our Lenten practices are fruitful and that they may bring us closer to our Lord.
Author: Katie Boren, 4th Grade Teacher