Maturity and the Sacramental Life
Note: You’ll notice the source of a lot of my entries is my eighth grade Confirmation class. The true test of any educator is not what you can teach your students…but it’s realizing that you can learn a lot from them as well. A lot of my experience as a confident Catholic comes from teaching that class, and you’ll be able to tell!
Tonight, I’m heading off to teach my eighth grade Confirmation class again. This class is wonderful for me; it’s a chance for me to talk religion with a bunch of kids, who are just waiting for someone to come along and work with them, not talk at them, for ninety minutes. It’s tough with these kids, who really don’t want to be bothered with anything Catholic.
On my first night of class, I asked the kids… “why are you here?” Of course , 40 out of 50 say “because my parents dropped me off.” So I decided to make them write. I told them that nobody – not even I – will see their writings because I want them to be personal. And after they wrote, I discovered that many of them were there for reasons far beyond the simple drop-off by the parents (praying, for ninety minutes, that their parents will call early so they can go home.) Some of them were there for very deep reasons, which they chose to share with me and the class after writing.
So now we consider that again tonight. Tonight, I’m having them examine themselves. Well, Mr. T, what does that mean… it almost sounds creepy!? No, I’m having them examine their subconscious, making a personal determination regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation. AM I MATURE? AM I EVER MATURE? WILL I EVER BE MATURE? And that’s what this post is going to examine: “Maturity and a Sacramental Life: T-Man Style”
Are any of us really mature? I mean, face it, we all go around acting like a five year old every now and again. I know I do it a lot…and my fellow bloggers can attest to this. (Right, cherie, zoey, reenie…?) But what does it mean to be a mature person, specifically at age 13 or 14? That is what I want my students to figure out tonight… Maturity, to me, involves doing the right thing, especially when it is so easy to do the wrong thing. For instance, college. It’s a Friday night, freshman year. Your entire hall is getting ready to go to a house party. You don’t want to go, you know that drinking underage is against the law, and that (despite the low likelihood) if you get in legal trouble, it could come back to haunt you later on (like, say, when you apply for teaching certification or medical school). However, you don’t want to be the outcast in your hall… the loser. So you’re faced with a decision… go out, or don’t go out?
As Catholics, particularly young Catholics, I feel as though we are faced with those decisions day in and day out. It’s not the “cool” thing to be religious. Or is it? See, we in this blog believe that it is. We believe, as the name suggests, that we should be confidently Catholic. However, in most parishes, look around and see the ratio of older folks to twenty-somethings in your service. Many of the “twenty-somethings” are not mature enough to realize that Catholicism is cool… they’re too busy recovering from the Saturday night hangover to be caught dead in Church. The truly mature person, the one who is really “in tune” with his/her faith, is the person that won’t let this stop them.
So, what does this all mean to us? So long as we are mature about our actions, more are bound to follow and realize that there is nothing wrong with doing the simple things, like going to Church, or being active in your faith. Don’t be the follower and go out to that house party, be original and, I don’t know, start a travelling Taboo party yourself. The friends you meet at your private gatherings will end up being the closest friends you have… and the same is true with confident Catholics. You’ll become close with so many wonderful people.
Like any good teacher, I’m going to give you all a homework assignment. As you go about your week, I want you to think about maturity and reflect on the following questions. (I’m having the kids do this tonight…let’s see how that goes!)
1) What about you makes you a mature person? Try to come up with a few things. No matter how imperfect you are, you’re mature!
2) Reflect on one or two of those above characteristics, and think about exactly how that characteristic/trait brings out the best in you. How does it make you mature? How can you use that to help others?
3) What about you makes you an immature person? Again, try to come up with a few things. No matter how perfect you think (key word THINK) you are, you’re immature in some ways!
4) Reflect on one or two of those above characteristics, and think about exactly how you can change that imperfection, or immaturity. Or, is it really an imperfection?
Enjoy, and God bless! And send your prayers this way… this week really could be the beginning of the rest of my life, and I need all the help I can get!