The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ugly Things...

Evening Religious Education is starting up again for the year. My youngest, who is being raised as a Catholic (to follow in her father's footsteps), will begin her weekly indoctrination tomorrow. This is something I used to facilitate, but I no longer take the lead. I have left that responsibility to her father.

The Catholic.

After our split, I made it clear that while I wouldn't stand in the way of this education (I'd promised him long ago that I wouldn't and my word means something to me), I was not Catholic and if he wanted to raise his children in the church, it would be his responsibility to undertake that lead role. I would be supportive to my children as they set and reached goals, but I would not be attending meetings or transporting them to classes.

This year, there has been a change in the order of sacraments. Non-Catholics, feel free to go get a snack or something. This next part is boring as hell.

In the olden days, when my older girls were involved with this program, the order of the sacraments was as follow:

Second Grade = First Communion
Fourth Grade = First Reconciliation
Eighth Grade = Confirmation

Now, the only child I still have in the system is my second grader. So, I knew she'd be celebrating her First Communion this year. Which is a very big deal. (My sister found a great deal on a dress for her some time back, so it's been hanging in her closet for two years.)

However, this year, the archdiocese is trying to return to "Canon Law". And Canon Law (to give you the education I recently received), among other things, indicates that a child must have had their First Reconciliation (and confessed their sins) prior to receiving their First Communion. That'll be tricky, as she got no training last year and she's having First Communion this spring.

The Church's response is to restructure the program to allow first graders to receive the sacrament of First Reconciliation. That way, when they reach second grade, they'll be good to go.

Now, I have a problem believing that six year olds can adequately comprehend the concept of sin or atonement, but let's put that aside momentarily. Because the point, for those of you who are already ahead of me, is that my child did not receive the sacrament last year, and the way that is being addressed is that [Kid 3], along with four other second graders who are in similar straits at her church, will get the "fast and dirty" training for this sacrament. Jam-packed into 4-5 one hour sessions, these 6-7 year olds will learn everything they need to know about how to identify sin, how to try to avoid sin, how to ask forgiveness for sin, and how to atone for sins committed.

I'm not buying the feasibility. But, I've spoken with the education director for the church (a lovely woman, btw, who has always been very kind to me and my girls), and I've discussed my concerns with my ex and given the options (which all involve staying with the church), we've decided to move forward and if we run into any difficulties we'll decide if we need to choose another path at that time.

Part of the plan is that in addition to the sessions at the church, parents are to help reinforce appropriate behavior in the children and lessons such as taking responsibility for bad behaviors and making things right when those things do, inevitably, happen.

Because my ex simply would NOT resolve scheduling conflicts, I ended up having to attend a two hour parent meeting on First Reconciliation the other night, in order to have a ten minute conversation with the education director that could have completely been handled by my ex and then reported to me.

I don't know if it's that he is just so used to me handling these things, or if it's that he's a lost ball in high weeds, or what, but he truly does not see how unfair it is of him to expect me to relieve him of this responsibility. Because believe me, there were a million other things I needed to be doing that night.

Let's say that this hurdle has been, for the time being, handled. My job is to help teach my daughter right and wrong (gee, already on that one), and to recognize her bad behavior (ditto), and to try not to repeat the behavior (ditto...again, I guess), and to take steps to make things right (just barely breaching that one).

It's important to me that my children grow to be kind and charitable and honorable. So these are lessons I haven't been waiting around for the church to advise me to begin. But the reinforcement is fine.

Several days AFTER the parent meeting...where we spent two hours listening to bible verses about people making the effort to do the right thing and how we can teach our children the skills to help them...I got blindsided by the following...

When my ex dropped [Kid 2] and [Kid 3] the Sunday before last, I was cooking a big Sunday dinner and after seeing the mess he'd made with [Kid 1], I retreated to the kitchen before I opened my mouth and said something (true, but inappropriate) in front of the kids. [Kid 2] wandered back to the kitchen and whispered, "I need to talk to you about something as soon as Dad leaves."


Those things never go well. And, frankly, if it's something I need to discuss with him, I'd rather get it out now while he's still on the premises.

Apparently, with [Kid 2] and her boyfriend in the backseat, my ex was, on the way home from the family reunion, instructing my 7 year old that "it's okay to keep secrets from Mommy." That "it's not lying if she doesn't ask about something."

::BIG sigh::

This utter lack of responsible parenting was apparent to my 16 year old AND her boyfriend (who is clueless about things of this nature) to the point where THEY were concerned. But my 48 year old ex, who wants our children to be raised in the Catholic church, didn't see a thing wrong with it.


Until I brought to his attention how I didn't appreciate it and how I would never instruct our children to keep secrets from their father.

He often tells his wimmen about how I have "pitted his children against him". Poisoned them against him. He refuses to understand, or believe, that they are intelligent women and that they are not blind to his character flaws. That they know right from wrong and that they can make judgments on their own.

But, hey, it's not too low to tell your 7 year old that it's okay to keep secrets from Mommy. Nah.... Advising her, in a parental role, that it's okay to deliberately hide behaviors that she knows are wrong, rather than to admit the mistake, change the behavior and make things right. Clearly, it's another example of my unreasonable expectations.

THIS...this stuff that is damaging my exactly the kind of stuff that will push me to go back to court and further reduce their time with him. It's not what I want to do. What I want is for him to be a better father to my children. It's just that more and more, it looks like that is less and less of a realistic option.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

In honor of your post, I did some digging in the CD archives and found the routine Lewis Black did about having to deal with the Book of Death (among other things in the Jewish faith) at the age of 5. It's track 5 "Yom Kippur" on Lewis Black "The Carnegie Hall Performance" CD. If you have it, enjoy.

Tony C.

9/17/2007 10:32 PM  
Blogger SuperWife said...

Don't have that CD, but I'll look it up on You Tube. It does sound vaguely familiar, though.

Mostly, it just disturbs me that he's pushing for religious training, presumably to make her a good person, but he's teaching deception and dishonesty simultaneously. I find it pretty sickening.

9/19/2007 10:10 AM  

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