Welcome to Small Success Thursday, where we get together and cheer each other on for our little milestones over the last week! We’re hosted by CatholicMom.com, where you can leave a link to your list and catch up with everyone else’s happy reports.
I’ve had a really good week! Let me tell you a few things that happened:
As homeschoolers, we don’t really have much opportunity for socialization…
Okay, that’s a total lie. My kids are more socially adept than I am, have more friends than I dreamed of at their ages, and can talk to anyone of any age with comfort that I actually envy.
But what we don’t have are school dances, formals, and proms. I mean, I have two students – both girls. That would be the lamest prom EVAH!
But there are lots of other homeschoolers in our area, so many that there are two rather large homeschooling organizations. And one of these groups has an annual Winter Ball and an annual Spring Ball. Both events are held at a huge Baptist church near us, and they maintain a strict dress code that mirrors the one we’d impose, anyway: young men in dress shirts and ties (coats preferred, but it’s okay if they don’t have one); young ladies may not wear strapless or spaghetti straps (unless she also wears a shawl or shrug at all times), nothing above the knee, nothing too low-cut. You know, modesty!
This year, our 15 year-old wanted to go the Spring Ball, which is tomorrow. She doesn’t have a date, but she got a ticket and is going to go alone and hang out with her friends.
Let me tell you, that’s nothing I would do even NOW, let alone at 15. School dances were one thing, prom was another! Yet she’s happy to be going.
I’d love to show you the actual Success here – her beautiful ensemble of fancy dress, shawl, bag, earrings, necklace, shoes – which we purchased for roughly $120. Total. (Okay, I admit we borrowed the bag from a friend. But still! That was including EVERYTHING she’ll need that night. Ladies, you know the extra stuff I’m talking about.)
I will HAVE to write a Seven Quick Takes tomorrow and post a picture of her dress. If she lets me take a picture before the end of the day. She’s going to look beautiful! Her poor father may be in fetal position, quietly crying, though. 😉
Speaking of my 15 year-old doing thing I never could do at her age, let’s talk about her soccer team a little. She’s on a homeschool rec league that plays against Christian schools who are unable to play against the public schools in our part of Virginia. She moved up to Varsity this year, and they’ve got 24 girls on the team. First season on Varsity + 24 girls = not much playing time for her this season. She’s a little frustrated by it after having been a starter for so many years, but she’s learning to deal with being a second-stringer. Even though teams for little kids focus on “Have fun, everyone plays,” this team is playing for a championship. If the game is close up until the last minute, the starters don’t sit down on the bench so someone else can have minutes in the name of fairness.
So, sitting on the sidelines, she normally pays attention to the game so she can learn what’s going on, just in case she gets the go-ahead to play for a few minutes.
However, Tuesday’s game was different.
Last week, the coach made a comment to the team, something like, “Well, we’re all Baptists,” and my daughter just laughed. Later, one of the players discovered that our family is actually Catholic; this was likely due to her wearing her “Be a Rebel: Be CATHOLIC” T-shirt for practice that day. The girl was caught off-guard by that, and they talked a bit; she eventually said, “Well, being Baptist is better.”
“Why? We believe a lot of the same stuff. Catholics are Christians.”
“Well, not really… You believe stuff that’s different.”
“What kind of ‘stuff’ do you mean?”
The girl was a bit evasive about it, but it all started coming out during Tuesday’s game, as the second-stringers sat on the bench. Apparently, my daughter discussed Mary, the Immaculate Conception (complete with mud-puddle analogy), the pope, the saints, the Rosary, and whatever else they threw at her.
My daughter was evangelizing her teammates.
I couldn’t be more proud. At 15, I never would have been able to answer even the smallest bit of the objections she faced. I didn’t even KNOW about the Immaculate Conception at her age! And, I’ll add this: that was a gift to me. For the last 10 years, when we first moved here, I helped them learn apologetics. We used the Friendly Defenders cards when they were small, and moved on to deeper discussions using their religious education books. There were even times when we’d roleplay – which they HATED – and I’d really push them to answer questions about Mary or the pope. I didn’t have them memorize the Baltimore Catechism much because I felt like it was more important to understand the concepts and the reasoning behind our beliefs than to memorize an answer. (After all, The Spirit of Vatican II nonsense was wrought upon us by people who grew up memorizing the Baltimore Catechism.)
On Tuesday, all that work, all the push against her resistance to learn that way of explaining things … it all paid off. In spades. And even better, when I said, “Are you glad now that I pushed apologetics on you?” she answered, “Yes! Now I’m glad.”
Finally, let’s not leave out my sweet 12 year-old and what I helped her accomplish.
We have a local Pro-Life organization that runs ads on local TV and buys billboards promoting adoption near the local Planned Parenthood. Every year, they have a poster contest for elementary students and essay contest for middle and high school students. This year, I asked my younger daughter to write an essay on the given topic of “Why Life is Important.” We submitted it back in March, and I had pretty much forgotten about it until this week.
We got an email from the group saying that her essay was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Middle School division! We’re so proud of her! I’ll have to get her permission to share the essay here, but aside from me helping her edit it and polish it up a little (plus a little brainstorming to start), she wrote the essay herself.
Be sure head over to CatholicMom.com for more Small Success posts!