I don’t have children. Maybe this means that my thoughts on this don’t matter. But I was a child once, and that counts for something.
So, can we talk about confirmation? And can we talk about why it doesn’t seem to matter to your kids . . . or to you?
I get that it’s one more thing you have to do during the week, that it’s one more place you have to drive your child, that it’s one more book she has to remember to grab before leaving the house, that it’s one more hour you can’t spend cleaning at home.
But it’s a really, really important hour each week.
A life and death kind of hour.
Dads, in that hour, your daughter will learn about holy things, things that have implications for her eternal life. She’ll learn that when other girls pick on her and bully her, when she questions whether anybody likes her, that her Baptism — and the gifts of grace and faith given to her there — will comfort her.
Moms, in that hour, your son will learn that when he doesn’t want to talk to you about something stupid he did, because he’s embarrassed and because you’re his mom, he can talk to his pastor, because he was a young man once too. He’ll learn that our Lord puts commandments and people and His Word in his way to protect him and to care for him.
In that hour, your twins will discover what the Church has always taught even though they’re not even two decades old. They’ll memorize Bible passages that they’ll recall when they’re 80 years old and their memory is fading in and out like a staticky radio station. They’ll learn how to differentiate between what is good and what is evil, what is true and what is false, what we know to be sure and certain about our Lord and what we know to be false about the world.
In that hour, your child will be fed with the very Word of God, taught what a life lived under the cross looks like, and refreshed with a peace that the world simply can’t give.
That’s why confirmation and Sunday School matter, why church matters. It’s why it matters to your daughter. It’s why it ought to matter to you.
You say you just want your child to be happy. But that’s not really true. Or it shouldn’t be. You should want your child to grow in his faith, to be a pious Christian, an upstanding citizen, a respectful young lady, a Christian who bears witness to Christ’s work in him in all that he does and repents when he doesn’t.
So if you’re tired of having one more thing to do during the week, having to drive your child one more place, or remind her one more time to grab her catechism before she leaves the house, or leave one more bathroom uncleaned . . .
Give up soccer. Even if you you went to college on a sports scholarship and you love watching her play.
Give up 4-H. Even if you have cows to show and you want him to learn how to show them.
Give up chess club. Even if you think it’s the most strategic way of thinking your child will ever learn.
Give up quiz bowl. Even if other parents give you the stink eye.
Those things may look shiny on earthly paper, but they pale in comparison to what your child will learn in church, in confirmation.
So tonight, when you are tempted to find a reason not to help your son with his memory work or to tell that your daughter she can fudge her catechism quiz, hold up.
And then dig in to the good stuff with them. Do the hard work. Sit beside them on the couch, and memorize the Bible and the catechism too. Encourage them in their study of God’s Word. Pray with them.
Because, believe it or not, when you show that things matter to you, they will start to matter to your kids too.
And when they are tempted to be more excited about soccer cleats or showing hogs, point them back to the cross. Remind them that Christ came into this world to redeem them.
And that’s cooler than any quiz bowl trophy.
(Although admittedly that’s not saying much.)
A girl who was in confirmation once herself