Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of joining our students as they received the Sacrament of First Reconciliation. This can be such a scary time for young kids. They are nervous, anxious, and build it up so big in their minds that many of them start to panic a little as they wait in that line. Fortunately, St. Patrick is blessed with the most gifted pastor in Father Matthew Brumleve. Not only does Father Matthew instantly ease the children's nerves, he brings this amazing sense of peace and calm to every single person in the church.
As I sat in the church, praying, meditating, and thinking back to my own First Reconciliation, I watched as our families interacted when their child would come out of the Reconciliation room. I watched as the children came out of the room with smiles on their faces. I watched parents who embraced their child and prayed with their child. I watched as parents talked and listened to their child. I remembered being there for my own children when they completed this important step in their faith journeys.
I was struck with emotion as I watched these scenes unfold, and thought...I hope the parents know just how important these moments are and just how fast it all goes. As my own kids have grown and gone off to college and are now even starting real, adult lives, I am constantly reminded how important all of the "moments" are.
How we respond to our kids in time of stress, anger, and frustration. How we model our own reactions to these big feelings. How we model our commitment to our family, work, and friends. How we model the importance of education in our own lives. How we model being lifelong learners. How we model interacting with and working with other people. How we model inclusivity and embrace diversity. How we model our faith and commitment to our church. All of these things matter.
It's a scary thought, really, because it means that every single thing we do and say is not only heard by these little ears, but is teaching our children how to be a "grown up". We know that one day, our children will become young adults who will (hopefully) model the things we have taught them, and it's our job (the job our Father has entrusted us with) to ensure we teach them to be good, honest people who care about others and strive to be their best selves. What an enormous responsibility!
But that's what we sign up for right? When we make the decision to have children, when we make the decision to become parents, we do so knowing that these children we bring into the world will one day be leading the world.....and it's OUR job to make sure they have the tools they need to lead it well.
Parenting is not for the weak at heart - especially in the world we live in now. I'm so grateful to each of you who entrust us in partnering with you in the faith formation of your children. It's a responsibility I don't take lightly and pray each day that the work we are doing is supporting you in this important mission.
Congratulations to our students who received the Sacrament of First Reconciliation! May this be one of many steps in your faith journey!