I piled on chairs until we achieved the point where he could still hold it up, but it required some effort.
Then I asked him and everyone else to imagine that he was made to carry it quite a distance.
Then I asked him and everyone else to imagine that first he had been beaten within an inch of his life. (Throughout, as the bearer's arms began to tire, I had to turn around and admonish him, keep it up.)
Well, I said, that that was pretty much what Jesus did, not because he had to but because He chose to, out of love for us.
And then I said that each one of us has a thousand choices every day, everything we do or say -- we can either do this (I pushed down on the top of the pile,) or we can do this, (I pushed up a little from the bottom, taking some of the weight off.)
It's our choice.
We can each help Jesus carry His cross or we can each make it heavier for Him.
There was quite a bit of wide-eyed, open-mouthed nodding, as if they had never thought of it that way before and maybe would from now on. (I had been regretting that I couldn't find a suitable cross, or at least cruciform object, but the surprise of where I was going with it, and it was a surprise to many of them, may have been better, actually)
Then we read a Passion narrative with many assigned characters and talked about which choice each one of their characters had made.
The discussion about Peter and Judas were especially fruitful.