Confirmation in one’s faith is considered the ultimate acknowledgement of adult inclusion in that religion. But what happens if a girl has doubts as the big day approaches? Here’s how Madeline, 14, and her father Eric worked it out.
Madeline: Once it got closer, I didn’t know if I wanted to be confirmed, but I also thought it was my problem to wrestle with. I didn’t want to hear what other people had to say about it. I said Dad, back off, I’ll handle this.
Eric: It was news to me that it was even an issue. I was surprised both because it was something I, my parents and grandparents had done, and also because she had gone through all the classes, which is a lot of work.
Madeline: He also said it would make him happy if I was confirmed.
Eric: I thought it was my responsibility to bring her this far. The promise I made at her baptism was to bring her up in the church, and confirmation was the completion of that.
Madeline: I didn’t want any intrusion; I wanted to figure it out for myself. I thought that 14 was too young to commit to all this big religion stuff. But in the end I decided to do it, knowing that later I can still explore other religions. I kept a journal for my homeroom teacher, and every week I would write about huge pesky questions in religion, and I couldn’t answer any of them. That teacher helped a lot, and so did a middle school teacher.
Eric: I knew Madeline was struggling with this a bit, especially with the faith statement she’d have to make in church. I knew she was thinking about that quote from Emerson that the unexamined life is not worth living. In the end her faith statement expressed a lot of doubt and nuance, and many people in the congregation raved about it.
Madeline: I think everyone should have questions about faith, because no one can answer them all.
Eric: It’s okay to search and struggle. I think Madeline needed to hear from different people that it was okay not to be completely sure.
Madeline: I’m glad about my faith statement…I’m proud of myself for not just following everyone else, and for not denying my doubts.
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