Last Saturday, Claire, at age 7, received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you're not Catholic, this Sacrament is when you go talk to a priest and confess your "sins." And at 7 years old, you can only imagine how dire your "sins" might be.
I remember my first confession like it was yesterday. Standing in the back of my South Side Chicago church nervously waiting for that little red light to turn green so I could go in. The old confessionals are just a trip. My little brain riddled with fear as I entered that dark small space, knelt down on the kneeler, and waited for the priest. Then a small window slid slowly open to reveal a silhouette behind a yellowy illuminated screen and my small voice trembled, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned...."
It was so dramatic....
In Los Angeles and in 2010, the whole scene is quite different and therapy-like. The kid sits face to face with the priest and they casually converse about their "sins" and then they skip out with barely a "Hail Mary" to recite for their penance.
But despite the mellowing out on the confessional fear factor, Claire was nervous all the same.
Of course she was.
As we drove to the church, she asked me, "Why do we have to go to First Confession again?"
Good question, Claire, I thought. Good question. Because uh, we decided to raise you Catholic and it's part of the package, I said in my head.
"Because Claire, it's just a good way for us to learn to take the time to look inside our hearts and think about how we can be better people. We all do things we wished we hadn't and confession gives us a reason to think about those things."
"But I'm not sure what sins to tell Father Tim! What should I tell him? I've been thinking about it and maybe I'll say that I fight with my brother and sister."
"That's a good one, Claire. What about the other thing we talk about sometimes?"
"What? What thing?"
"You know, the one you and I are always talking about. When you kinda talk back to me."
"No way!!" Claire said. "I am NOT going to tell the priest that I talk back to YOU!!!"
Of course, I thought. Her little head doesn't get that Father Tim wouldn't walk around school after her confession thinking "Oh yes, that Claire. SHE'S the one that talks back to her mother!"
Which made me think is 7-years-old an appropriate age to start confessing?
"Claire," I assured her, "I know you're nervous. But it really will be okay. I was nervous too when I made MY first confession."
"You were?" she asked.
"Yep. I sure was. And it gets easier and easier. The first time is the hardest, for sure."
"WHAT?" Claire asked as her expression changed from nervous to pure shock.
"I have to do this again?"
I hope you'll join the fun and add a conversation with YOUR kid. I'd love to check it out. This post will remain up throughout the weekend, so leave a link below on Mr. Linky to a post of yours anytime!!