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Friday, January 29, 2010

Conversations with my Kid

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!!

Happy Friday!


  1. LOL! Tell her if she never talks back to you again, "no, no you don't."

    I'm so chilled-out-Episcopalian, man.

    Peace be with you.

    (I need to move my FFFT to be able to participate. Or maybe I could get one of my two boys to say something hilarious about politics. That shouldn't be to difficult ;-)

  2. That's why it's good to be Jewish, you don't have to confess those sins.

    She couldn't be cuter...

  3. Whoever said Jews have the 'in' on the whole guilt thing was soooo wrong. LOL!

  4. Tell Claire be happy she is not Jewish. We have priests, they are called Therapists and they cost a hell of a lot more.

  5. Love it. Yes, your memory is my exact memory of confession as a kid.

    Look, yet another way life has gotten so much easier for our kids - or that we've made it easier for them.

    G does not make her 1st reconciliation until May. Maybe Claire can give her a few pointers.

  6. Hahaha! "What? I have to do this again?" was the first thing I said when Lisa informed me that I had to take that baptism class again for child #2. I thought taking it for the first time was like getting your license to baptize.

  7. This is cute. I want to meet your girls.

  8. As long as she never sins, she never does need to go back, right?

  9. Congrats to Claire. I'm sure when Boo's turn comes next year, she'll have a laundry list of her friends' sins, but her list will be conspicuously short. Ahem. Mommy's little tattletale.

  10. Ahhh, the shattering of her first religious illusion, that it's all only necessary once :)))) Bless her. (Said in my most serious and saintly Mother Teresa mood)......

  11. sweet claire. maybe we can make an american girl confessional so she can practice.

  12. This is why I'm not Catholic ;)

    I'm kidding of course. Mostly. I have so much natural guilt, I think I'd pass out.

    I'd love to hear what she thought about it afterward. But you may have just gotten "it was fine." :)

  13. I loved this post. You mix the pure and the profane so awesomely.


  14. oh man do i remember mine...i was sooo nervous. like crying. for weeks before it happened. so much so my teachers put me first in line. so i could get in and get out. but somehow instead of first i was last. i literally cried while i waited.

    our priest was at least 102 and after 33 little sins of second graders he could care less that i hadn't made my bed.

    honestly it was soooo traumatizing - i have never been back!


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