[quote=cardenio]As a teen, I have to put my two cents in.
My Catholic K-8 school confirmed the seventh and eighth graders every other year. I was in seventh grade when I was confirmed. My faith at that point was dangerously weak. I’d like to blame it in part on the religion class system at the school. I don’t know if it’s their fault or not. But religion classes never once got beyond “God loves you!” which is all good and nice but isn’t there more to Catholicism than that? I asked and didn’t hear anything except “God loves you, Mary!”
Same way with me, in the late 60s early 70s. They were more interested in anti-drug and anti-racism propaganda that seemed to take the place of Catholic Catechism. We never cracked open a Bible in all of grades 1-8.
They wanted to give us a chance to opt out and say maybe get confirmed later or never or whatever, but the system was so if someone didn’t want to be confirmed, everybody would make a big deal and say “Jessy! You don’t want to be confirmed! Don’t you know God loves you?” So there really was no way to opt out.
Exactly. No way to opt out without being conspicuous about it. This is free will “accented” with coercive pressure. Only hard core purists in their own beliefs might refuse.
Actually that’s one of the reasons I told my kid it’s OK if he feels like a hypocrite. He is very resistant to pressure, and in fact if he feels it he is likely to stand up against it not even knowing what it is. He is such a hardcore purist, and it made it worse for him to think there were others who also didn’t believe but went ahead anyway because I think it bothered him to be grouped with lemmings. I gave him permission to be a lemming, because I knew him better and knew he was just doing it as a favor to me.
That was also pretty coercive, but I’m quite sure that the ultimate decision was Chris’s.
Ask her. Ask her why she hates going to Mass. Ask her why she doesn’t believe what the church teaches. But don’t ask her accusingly. Don’t be rude. Ask her politely. Make it look like you want to know. And then want to know. Listen to her. Really listen. Understand. Ask questions. Maybe debate a little. But tell her that there’s more to Catholicism than “God loves you!” because, quite honestly, nobody cares at that age.
I love the way you say this. So many parents are so busy with the world, and when they are “parenting” they feel like they have to wear a certain hat that society has been fitted for them, that they are not really open for honest communication. They see teenagers with problems as issues they “are supposed” to take care of, and not only that but they cannot use their own instincts and love for the child because they have to be concerned with “what sort of parent” am I for taking a certain course of action. It really clouds everything up when we’re worried about being a good parent, instead of just allowing ourselves to love our children, empathizing with them, and then helping them in a way that we won’t have to say, “some day you’ll thank me for this.” While sometimes true, I think that saying is most often used to end discussion and disallow consent – it gives peace of mind to the simple of mind.
Thank you also for emphasizing and then want to know.
Yes, parents can indeed purposely change their own desires, and you are right to expect them to. :clapping:
You are wise beyond your years. The things you say are things I learned at the school of Hard Knox as a parent. I pray that many parents hear your message, which does not reinforce the popular “tough love” and “be a hardass” attitude that is currently in vogue with PSAs.
I am so blessed for having learned the exact lessons you have just espoused, and my six children are so delightful (four teenagers, two younger) that I just have to shake my head in awe at how great God is.
I nearly lost one of my sons, the very one in question, over my own frustration at dealing with him and trying to control him. He is still a PITA in a lot of ways because he is passionate about things, he gets bored easily, is charismatic and gets his way practically all the time. He is just as charming to his brothers and sisters as to authority figures, is incredibly intelligent, and even though he still has reservations about Catholicism, he was recently trying to get an athiest to make certain logical concessions that certain scientific views are just as much a religion as Catholicism. He told the priest who was SD at his school, and the eager priest asked him to invite the athiest out to dinner. Of course, Chris did it; he will never miss a chance for adventure. The athiest did open up his thinking a little bit, at least to acknowledge that science is not necessarily more objective than religion.
These enthusiastic, impulsive, reckless kids can really get things done some times. It seems the highest performers are often high maintenance, kind of like cars.