Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Gut Check - a review

"Success in life and business begins by focusing on death."

That is the first sentence in the book Gut Check: Confronting Love, Work and Manhood in Your Twenties. written by Tarek Saab, college graduate, business professional and former contestant on The Apprentice! When I read it I figured that there must be a lot of wisdom in someone so young to have already discovered that key fact of life.

I first heard about this book on Catholic Radio where it was recommended as a great summer read. Considering the title and the fact that I have a 21-year-old son, I thought this might make an appropriate birthday gift for him, but I wanted to read it first.

And I was glad I did. Mr. Saab takes us on a journey from a drunken, rowdy college student (unfortunately at a Catholic College) to lonely albeit prosperous business professional. Through the years from college student to independent business man Saab describes what it was like to be with the crowd, doing the "normal" activities for "kids" his age and yet feeling alone, empty, and unfulfilled, and especially frustrated and confused about his role as a man in relationship to women.

I don't want to give too much away but a few things stood out for me. Despite the lost morality of his college years, Saab does have a some brief spiritual and religious experiences that help to anchor him and at least keep him somewhat in touch with his Catholic faith. A brief encounter and wise words of wisdom for a priest on the campus was life changing.

Saab also writes a list of goals and ideals that he wants to strive for particularly in his spiritual life. The rest of the book is pretty much about losing focus and then coming back to these goals again.

I think anyone in their 20s (or 30s or 40s and perhaps 50s) could see a bit of themselves in Tarek Saab's experiences, but I think the main audience 20-something men may find it particularly inspiring and encouraging. I'll let you know what Calvin thinks of it - if I can get him to read it! (He's getting it for his birthday celebration tomorrow!)

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