Our family’s life frequently seems too full. We rush around but lack enough quality time together. When we do manage to sit down together, as we did for a family meal last Sunday, tempers can run wild given that everyone is tired, stressed and drained.
When our oldest child Hedley started Kindergarten, Marc and I sat down and talked about the religious education of our children. Religion had never been an easy topic for us since I am Catholic whereas Marc is Jewish. Whereas Marc appreciates his Jewish heritage, having his children be raised in his faith seemed less important to him that it was to me. After many heated conversations, we decided to raise our children in my Catholic faith, feeling that introducing them to the Catholic set of values would be a important addition to their lives and educations.
At so many points, it seemed undoable. Annaliese (who you see here) attended class once a week for two years for an hour and then a retreat, penance and rehearsals in anticipation of her First Communion. With all of these events taking place across town, the logistics added more pieces to our family’s perennial jigsaw-puzzle.
Although normally the First Communion Age is eight, Annaliese made her’s at nine because, not kidding, I forgot to sign her up for class for AN.ENTIRE.YEAR. You can’t make this stuff up!
Why is it Important to Make your First Communion?
If you’re Catholic or of a Christian faith that offers First Communion (such as the Lutheran faith or the Anglican faith) you might be asking yourself: why does this rite of passage justify our time and effort as busy parents in the modern world?
Here’s my answer to that loaded question. First, there is value in providing your children with a counter-balance to our culture’s emphasis on personal success. So much now is about being good at this and good at that. How much time is spent focused on being a good person who cares for others? Not enough.
You don’t need religion for this. You an emphasize ethics in your daily lives, encouraging your children to look out for others and put them first. Yet the lessons provided by religion can be your support in this. And the discipline and time-commitment required for a religion education does ensure that these values are coming through.
Another huge value that comes from raising your children in your religion and going through a rite of passage such as a First Communion is simply that investing this time in your child makes them feel as if they are a part of something and extremely special.
Here is Annaliese doing a reading during her ceremony.
Here’s the back of her dress. We had so much fun picking that dress out from this website.
I feel lucky to have obtained this rare full-family shot.
And a sunnier shot with my dear sister Kirsten and her kids.
At home, I set the table with my mother-in-laws china and flat wear, and bought flowers for the occasion.
Here’s a proud mama and her little girl. Not having too much time lately to think about what to wear to Annaliese’s First Communion, I wore the same dress I had worn to Beckett’s and to my friend Ana’s wedding in France.
And it isn’t a special occasion in our family without a cake from Magnolia Bakery.
Whatever you believe in, and whatever choices you make as a family, concentrate on raising your children with good values. These will never leave them. And always, always try to make your kids feel special and important.
It sounds so simple, but in fact it’s not at all.
Sending much love to you and your families,
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