DEAR ANNIE: I am 14 years old and facing a dilemma. My father isn’t particularly religious, but my mother is a strict Catholic, and my older sister and brother have been confirmed. I have another six months before I am expected to go through the process of confirmation. I do not want to do this. But as the time approaches, my mother has become increasingly forceful on the subject.
I do not share my mother’s beliefs, although I do believe in God. My father supports my choice, and I’ve tried to explain it to my mother, but she won’t have any of it. She continues to send me to religious classes, which I consider a complete waste of my time, and it results in some very awkward conversations because I find myself hiding my beliefs. When I once refused to attend the classes, my mother threatened to call my school and have me taken off of student council and the soccer team.
I know her stubbornness has other causes, including pleasing family members who are deeply religious and have always resented my father’s agnosticism. But time is running out, and Mom has only become more aggressive. If I resist, there will be huge consequences. I don’t feel I can take part in such an important religious event if I am not fully committed to it. I even talked to Mom about postponing it for a few years, which would be allowed in our diocese, but she rejected that idea. How can I convince her that she is being unreasonable? — Frustrated Son
DEAR FRUSTRATED: You can’t. Your mother is in panic mode, frightened for your religious future and concerned that her family will disapprove of the way she raised you. Your best bet is to talk to your priest and ask him to intervene. While he is unlikely to support your decision not to be confirmed, he may be able to convince Mom that waiting is in everyone’s best interest, and she is more apt to listen to him.