Monday, June 12, 2006

Confirming Chaos

Sorry that posting has been light lately. This last week has been unbelievable. The next two weeks don't look to be much better. My Father and I are leaving for Everett WA on Wednesday. After a trip to the Black Hills of SD for Mom's interrment and thento Cheyenne WY I hope to be back home in a week and a half.

This last week has been a week of highs and lows. And I mean extreme highs and lows. I guess if you average the highs and lows the week was probably edge out on the high side. But the one low was a doozy. Last Friday my oldest daughter graduated from Middle School. Then I went to State Bowling Tournament on Saturday and Sunday where I bowled quite well. My parents arrived on tuesday. Mom was in really bad shape. We put he into the hospital on Thursday and she died on Friday. Then on Sunday my oldest daughter was confirmed.

Confirmation Sunday was another hectic day. Chaos had to read her "I believe" statement at the early service. Then we had to hang around for an hour between services for pictures. Then the actual confirmation ceremony was during the late service.

My dear wife and I had some real complaints about the schedule. We don't like going to the late service. The early service is a traditional service while the late service is a modern service. I enjoy the music at the late service. They sing a lot. But overall I prefer the traditional early service. But our preferences don't carry any weight with our Pastor. He does all special events like baptisms and confirmations at the late service. So that means that just like the baptism of our twins, Chaos's Confirmation would happen in front of a church full of strangers that we don't know and all the people that we do go to church with regularly who did not get to see our children baptised didn't get to see Chaos confirmed.

In preparation for Confirmation they held a practice session on Wednesday. We had a blast at the practice. My baby girl was wonderful. The 5 confirmands were sitting in the front pew while Pastor went over the ceremony. The he told them to each read their "I believe" statements, which is each confirmand's statement of their personal beliefs.

The five readers were sitting in the front pew pointing at each other and trying to convince each other to go read their statements first. Finally Pastor just pointed at my daughter and asked her to go first.

Chaos climbed up into the pulpit and read her statement of beliefs. Now my viewpoint may be a little slanted but I think she did a fantastic job. Her statement was well written and she read it well. She had two full pages of 14 point font written. She discussed her beliefs and referenced the bible passages that supported her views. She also referenced the writing of several other theologians. She discussed her spirtual gifts and what they mean to her.

Once finished as she decended from the pulpit the other 4 sets of parents immediately raised a good natured fuss with Pastor to make her go last on Sunday.

Once the other kids read their statements we knew why. Their statements were about one quarter the length of my daughter's. Most of their statements sounded like one long run-on sentence paraphrasing the Apostle's Creed. Each other reader ended their statements with the sentence "At our retreat I took a spiritual gifts test and my gifts are ..." They didn't elaborate at all about their gifts.

Each kid stumbled over reading at least one sentence in their statements. Most of them stumbled over more than one.

The differences between my daughter's and her classmate's writing and reading abilities were incredible. We hadn't been that proud of her in at least 3 days.

On Sunday not much had changed. Chaos still read her statement better than the others. She hadn't changed her statement and she read it better. The other kids had made some changes to their statements. But they still read them poorly.

One of the other kid's fathers was even caught pointing out the obvious differences between my daughter's private school education and the other kid's public school educations. He made this observation in front of his public school teacher wife. I hope he likes their couch.

I'm not sure it is all private vs. public educations. I think it is also a difference in small school vs. large school. In the large public schools the kids can get lost in the shuffle. But in the small school there is no place to hide. Each kid has to be able to read, write and perform. There is no where to hide. Everyone of them is expected every day to excel at whatever it is they are working on.

The best part of Confirmation was the guests. Chaos's 8th grade teacher and the principal from her school showed up as did two of her best friends and their mothers. At the end of the ceremony when Pastor asked the family to come forward and lay their hands on each confirmand and pray for them, the teacher and the principal came up with us. Chaos really appreciated that.

After the service there was a reception in the fellowship hall. Then we hosted a luncheon/open house over at our place. We had a pretty good crowd show up for lunch. Everyone had plenty to eat and lots of good conversation. Once the party dwindled down we still had Chaos's two friends here. They stayed all day and night. I think it was really good for her to have the sleepover. Spending the night being silly with her friends really helped to take her mind off the events of a few days earlier.

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