This morning I checked in on Facebook and saw a picture posted by a friend at my former parish of her daughter's Confirmation. I was somewhat taken aback by the caption, which read something along the lines of "I [meaning, the mother] fulfilled a promise made at her [meaning, the daughter] Baptism and now the rest is up to her."
Meaning . . . what? Is it up to this 15-year-old girl to get herself to Mass and figure out how she will be a Catholic as an adult? Among the books I am reading is Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman. In reading it - and being old enough to remember things like the "Moonies" and dodging Hare Krishnas in airports - it occurs to me that people in their late teens/early 20's are precisely the targets of dangerous cults, such as the Scientologists (and perhaps I give more credence than is due by calling Scientology a cult, since I think of it more as an evil Ponzi scheme). What are these kids looking for that Mom and Dad are not providing? I understand that if a child leaves home it is hard to keep up with their spiritual life, but on the other hand, if they are nearby, make it a date to attend Mass together each Sunday, at the very least.
Now, I suspect my friend will stay involved with her daughter's spiritual life in the Catholic Church. I may be sensitive to a remark like that having recently seen the disorder of a damaged vocation in a priest I knew and also experiencing so many divorcing parents who seem to abdicate their roles, convincing themselves that their kids are more "mature" than they actually are and thus "need" them less. Although my parents grew lax in spiritual upbringing as my siblings and I entered young adulthood, they at least continued to engage us in conversation regarding Catholicism and the faith remained a big part of our family identity.
I hope to keep my kids active Catholics. Even if I have to bribe them with Sunday dinner. Hey, whatever works . . .