Thoughts on His Confirmation, from Dad

The next installment of our Confirmation presentations is from my husband and Austin’s father. This is what he read the afternoon of Austin’s Confirmation:

On the occasion of your confirmation, I would like to offer a few thoughts about how important you are to our family and how proud I am of the man that you are becoming.

I consider it such a privilege to be your father. You have so many wonderful qualities. You are incredibly kind. Twenty-five years ago, I met a woman who showed me that kindness is the most important quality that a person can develop, and fortunately I had enough sense to marry her. Like your mother, you are sensitive to people’s feelings, you notice when people are sad or hurt, you take the time to listen to people when they are going through a difficult time. You are often willing to place other people’s interests ahead of your own, which is a true sign of maturity. Your kindness toward others makes you a good friend, a good brother, a good son, and a good person. Someday, it will make you a particularly good husband and a good father. It is a trait that will take you far in life. There are too few men in this world who are sensitive to other people’s feelings. You will make the world a better place.

You have a wonderful sense of humor. You see the humor in everyday life and you have the ability to make people laugh in any situation. Your sense of humor continuously brings joy to every member of our family. Put simply, you are incredibly fun to be around.

But, even though you have a great sense of humor, you also know when to be serious. You are a hard worker. You put a lot of effort into your schoolwork. There are many nights when you are still up working on homework when I go to bed, and I go to bed late. Fortunately, your mother is also good at math, which is another benefit I received from marrying her, and she is often sitting by your side working with you as I head off to bed. In addition to your schoolwork, you work hard around the house, doing chores, cleaning things up, setting a good example for your sister and brother. Your persistence and your work ethic will pay off as you move through life.

I love your sense of adventure. Ever sense you started climbing out of your crib when you were 18 months old, you have been taking risks for the sake of adventure. It was not uncommon for me to walk upstairs for a minute or two when you were a toddler and come back to find that you had somehow climbed to the top of a very tall piece of furniture. Although you often take more risks than your conservative, risk-averse father is comfortable with, I know that you do it because you love life and everything that it has to offer. Never lose your love of life – just make sure that you don’t get too carried away.

I love that you are a people person. You thrive on human interaction. You are always encouraging your parents to have people over, throw a party. You love spending time with people and celebrating.

I admire your quiet confidence. You are comfortable with who you are as a person, as well you should be. Even at 14, you are just as comfortable playing on the playground with your 9-year-old brother as you are hanging out with your friends in downtown Wheaton.

And speaking of your brother, you are an exceptionally good big brother. When Aidan was born, I told you that you had a huge responsibility because he was going to do whatever he saw you do. You had to set a good example for him and teach him about life. In retrospect, I probably placed too much pressure on you, but you rose to the challenge and have had such a positive impact on your brother’s life. Thank you for all of the time that you have invested in your brother over the years – your investment has already paid off and will continue to pay off in the future. Watching you interact with your brother has also convinced me that you will be an exceptional leader someday.

You have already overcome a great deal of adversity in your life. Several years ago, you had a life-threatening injury. You had two surgeries and spent several weeks in the hospital. None of us knows why things like that happen in life, but I do know that experience has taught you that you can overcome any hurdle that life throws in your way. You are strong. You are a fighter. Watching you endure all that you had to endure while you were in the hospital was an inspiration to me. Always draw on that experience to remember that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to.

On this day, when you embrace your faith and confirm your baptismal vows, I am so incredibly proud of you. I pray that your Christian faith will be a constant source of strength for you; that you will allow your faith to permeate every aspect of your life. I pray that you will continue to study Holy Scripture throughout your life; that you will allow it to be a lens through which you view the world; that you will allow it to guide the choices that you make. I pray that you will grow in your relationship with God and that you will continually draw upon the incredible power of prayer. I pray that you will live a life of self-examination, always looking for ways that you could have handled a situation better, always trying to become a better person, always attempting to model your life after Christ’s example.

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