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…

What I want my daughters to know about rape

Sisters izzy and Rosie

In the midst of preparing for a joyous graduation party, news of the Stanford rape conviction and paltry sentencing kept popping up in the background noise of our preparations, on the radio, t.v., in print and on the Internet. We weren't even trying to look for it, and yet that story remained just below the surface all week long.

For the sake of documentation and being able to remember this stuff later, here are some articles on the topic:

The Stanford Rape Case via CNN.
Father of the rapist pleads for his son and explains "rape culture."
Victim Impact statement
My niece sent me this fascinating article about pornography and rape. 

For the sake of clarity, and so that I am not misunderstood to be defending rape or rapists in any way shape or form - (because, yea, that's happened to me before), rape is wrong. End of story. There is nothing to ever excuse it, it's dehumanizing, it's degrading and men and boys should be taught that it is wrong and then punished for raping anyone.

I teach my sons that rape is wrong and evil. I tell my daughters that too. But talking about rape reminds me a little bit of driving with Mr. Pete.  He'll be driving through an intersection and I might wince when I think a driver on the cross street isn't stopping.  Mr. Pete will inevitably say, "Don't worry. I have the right of way."   And indeed, he does. But that doesn't mean that the car in the cross street will stop, or avoid a collision. And if a collision happens, we are still going to have to worry about bodily injury, auto repairs, insurance, inconvenience and all the rest of what goes with a car accident.

So when I talk to my daughters about rape, I also talk about how to avoid it. Because, you know, the same analogy applies. They might have the right to drink until they black out (once they turn 21 of course), and they have the right to walk alone after dark, in secluded places, with only pasties and a G-string. But even legal actions have consequences. And the consequences of losing your faculties to alcohol or drug, not being in a buddy system, and being scantily dressed is that you could still end up in a situation that you don't want to be in.

I used to talk a little bit about that at the confirmation talk for girls at my parish, but the 8th grade girls apparently didn't like or didn't remember that information because I was dropped from being a confirmation speaker. The high school students now give a presentation instead.

But in my home, with my daughters I reiterate a couple of things:

  • Don't lose your senses.  Get a drink in your hand and keep it there all night. That way people won't keep trying to get you a drink and you can keep a hold of your sobriety!
  • Hang with people you trust and go out in a group. Look out for one another and stay relatively together. Especially make sure to leave together.
  • Be careful about what you wear. Sorry, but that can be a trigger for some guys and it's more important to be safe than seductive. 
  • I'm looking into some self-defense courses for Izzy now and I hope when she is 21 she can get a legal concealed carry in Ohio. I hope to get one this year.

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