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…

Relationships- they don't get any easier in middle age!

Sorry for the blog silence. I gave a talk on Saturday and I'm giving another one this Saturday so I've been preoccupied with that.  

Here are some other things weighing on my mind of late:

A dear friend of mine is having problems with her daughter-in-law.  I wrote about that here. Her son is not taking his mother's side at all and they are using their new baby, my friend's only grandchild, as a pawn. The most hurtful comment recently was the revelation that they want distance because they don't want their child to be brought up "that way."  It boggles the mind.

What way would that be?  Two parents working to provide a nice home? A mother that made sure there was always a good fit between her son and his school? A mom that helped her son with homework? and stood up for him when there were issues with the teacher?  I know my friend isn't perfect. None of us are. But she never did anything that deserved shunning and being cast outside the family circle by her son.  I feel so bad for my friend, but outside of praying about it, I feel impotent to do anything else.

Also weighing on my heart:

A few years ago I blogged about a bad experience that happened to me with one of the teachers that we had chosen to teach writing and literature skills to Calvin and Sam. I wrote about that back in 2006.

And I would have let it be a blip on my life's radar screen except for something that happened last winter. Gabe attended an area wide Catholic Youth Retreat and started up a conversation with one of the young ladies there. (Gabe is very good about being able to start conversations and maintain small talk with young ladies! It's one of his special talents.)

Anyway after talking a while the girl asked Gabe what his name was and he told her. She looked surprised and said, "Are you related to Calvin?" Gabe answered (albeit hesitantly) in the affirmative and this young lady responded.

"Oh I've heard about your family. I'm in the (homeschool English) class and the teacher really hates your family!"

What shocked me about this was that it happened four years after we got kicked out! We certainly made a big impression because now our name is so well known that Catholic teenagers in the area can make the connection upon meeting us - and not in a good way. I think Gabe turned it around by agreeing that his older brother is a jerk and assuring her that he never ever took the class himself.

But hearing about the exchange was like a slap in the face to me. It's one thing to suspect that perhaps people are talking behind your back. It's quite another to get unexpected confirmation.

I fully realize my own blame in the situation. I was definitely in mama grizzly mode at the time. Calvin had a history of academic challenges and disappointments. He built up a bravado to cover up the inadequacy he felt in learning to read so late and in reading so slowly. (Just a foot note - he reads all the time now for work and pleasure.  He is the epitome of the late bloomer.)   An experienced seasoned teacher could have dealt with it, but I don't think a young new one could. I didn't want him to have another failure; she wanted to assert her authority. With a new baby and little kids and broke, it was a struggle for me to keep Sam in the class, and we missed the class where he was to turn in his term paper draft, which lead to a total breakdown in communication between the young teacher and I. It was a bad matchup. I see that now.  Live and learn.

Flash forward to current times and for the first time in a few years we are going to come face to face at a few social events. I feel extremely uncomfortable about this, yet I am going to attend because they're for my kids.  At the same time I have recently heard from at least three other homeschooling moms at various times and for other reasons, singing the praises of this teacher.  Which makes me question whether or not my perceptions are off?  She is so beloved; she hates my family.  What is wrong with us?  how do I make it right? or is it one of those, "it is what it is things" and just accept it as that.

And all of this reminds me of when mom first moved into her retirement community and she started telling me about problems with this resident, or something that happened to another resident, and who was fighting with who.  It dawned on me then that one of life's little secrets is that the problems of jr. high and high school don't really go away - we just get better at masking them over, giving them fancier names and handling them with more sophistication.  But people remain basically the same at 8 or 80.
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