Monday, June 09, 2008

A nice celebration

Yesterday was Daughter14's Affirmation ceremony. An Affirmation ceremony is the "coming of age" ceremony at our church.

All 9th grade students spend a year in the Affirmation class. During the year they explore the principles and beliefs of our religion...but also continue to explore a variety of other religious and spiritual pathways. These explorations are combined with discussions of all the "big" topics - what makes a person unique and special; what does each of them value in others; is there a God or Goddess or multiple gods and goddesses and, if so, what form do they take and what is their role in our daily lives; what happens when we die; etc.

It is not easy for a 14 year old to figure out what they believe about these things. It isn't even easy for a 52 year old to figure it out!

But the culminating portion of the class is that each student, working with the two class leaders and their own personal mentor, writes a credo statement about their beliefs at this point in their life. And then those statements are shared with the congregation during the Affirmation ceremony.

My daughter hates speaking in front of a crowd. And she considers any group with more than two people to be a crowd! But the church was packed and she did an awesome job.

In fact, all the kids did a terrific job.

And then there was a nice reception afterwards. I mean, all good events have food...right!?!

Daughter14....you did great! We are very proud of you!!!

20 comments:

furiousBall said...

that's awesome, i love seeing kids conquer fears

barefoot gardener said...

I wish the church my folks forced me into attending would have had an Affirmation class like that....

My clearest memory from Confirmation class was making the pastor mad by asking too many questions and being told I was demon-spawn and on the highroad to hell. ;)

Glad that Daughter14 worked through her fear and has had a positive experience with her Affirmation classes

Jenster said...

Wonderful for her! I'm glad she overcame her fears and did such a great job.

I think it's great that the kids are made to think for themselves and come up with an affirmation of what they believe. Otherwise it's just their "parent's faith" and not very real.

Em said...

Barefoot..it is kind of exciting to know an actual demon spawn! LOL

Jazz said...

Congratulations D-14!!

As for Barefoot Gardner and her demon spawn comment, I'm about ready to bet she's catholic... sounds remarkably like my own experience.

whimsical brainpan said...

That sounds like a wonderful idea, writing your own credo. I'm glad your daughter was able to recite hers in front of a crowd. Doing either thing isn't easy.

Anette said...

We had something similar for our daughter a month ago, she's 14.5 years old. She choose the civil confirmation, which is the secular alternative of a coming of age seremony. Its getting more common in Norway, about 30 % choose this.

Above Average Joe said...

Congrats Daughter14.

VioletSky said...

Good for her. Congrats to D14.

And what a wonderful idea of writing your own credo, helps you to really think about what you are believing. And I love that there was such openness to discover and discuss "other religious and spiritual pathways". That also helps you determine and confirm your beliefs.

Dorky Dad said...

Congratulations, kiddo. And I feel her pain about speaking in public. I'd rather feed bloody meat to a starving shark with my bare, bloody hand.

Trish said...

oh wow - that's awsome!

Congratulations to daughter14 :)

Mysti said...

How awesome! Teenager went through her Girl's Rite last summer and it's finally hitting her NOW how significant it was. She will be a walker for her best friend who will be going through it this year. I love coming of age rites for many reasons, but one being that we, as a society, are lacking such events for our children. I think we all need passages celebrated into our next phase of life. I hope it stays with her forever. :)

Oh, and Barefoot, you and I are long lost sisters because I was declared a spawn of satan when I was 7 - and that was in PUBLIC school! LOL I knew I liked you for other reasons... :)

citizen of the world said...

That's great - the UU church I went to for a while had a program for newcomers called "Building Your Own Religion" where you sorted those same issues out. (Although, I remmeber being impressed when the Bishop mad a cross with oil on my forehead when I was confirmed.)

Em said...

Citizen, the church we attend is a UU church..and yes, I've taken the Building Your Own Theology class as an adult. Some pretty challenging work in that course!

Kati said...

Awww, I'm so glad the Affirmation ceremony went well. It sounds like a great idea, to spend a year studying and considering what one believes about one's spirituality and the universe. Also wishing this was something that I'd gotten to experience as a kid, but then again baptists are more about telling you what to believe, than discussing the options. (Or, if the options ARE discussed, any options other than "believe what the pastor tells you is true" usually culminate in "go to hell and burn for eternity."

Anyway... Glad to hear that your daughter was able to do so well in her Affirmation toward the congregation. I hope the work she did during this past year helps her maintain a solid sense of self through her teen years and into her twenties.

creative-type dad said...

I like that idea - I don't think I've ever heard of anything like that.

Congratulations to her

Jocelyn said...

Em, your church rocks--and the distinction between the words "affirmation" and "confirmation" is not lost on me, someone for whom "confirmation" was jarring and mean and gossipy. I'd have rather been affirmed.

Wizened Wizard said...

Hi Em -

Congratulations to Daughter14. If only all churches had such sensible and affirming coming of age rites...

It was so very nice to hear from you. There are a number of people I enjoyed knowing through my blog, and it's great to be in touch. As for my blogging, the time had come to give it a rest. I couldn't keep up with correspondence in the way I felt being "a good blogger" demanded, and too much time was being spent at the computer.

I do have a photo blog now where I post a new photo every day. It's a site just for photographers, and that is helpful to the new "career". 'Hope you'll visit!

You mentioned recent losses. I'm sorry. I hope that in general Life is treating you well.

Again, thanks for stopping by. My best to you and your family ~

Wiz

Rainbow dreams said...

a lovely post - well done daughter 14 - big questions and thoughts - at least they are asked - when I was confirmed I was told what I would believe - it didn't go down well with me!

Kyra (the lonely housewife) said...

Congrats to your daughter. I was betting it was UU. I've been considering that church myself and you've given me yet another reason to consider it.

Thx - Kyra