Last weekend the church bulletin listed the time and date for the next alter server class. For those of you who might not know, alter servers within the catholic church are usually school age boys and girls, members of the church, who assist the clergy during the mass or service. For years this was a duty only performed by boys and men. When I was a girl I found this incredibly unfair and always thought it would be fun to be an alter server. I digress.
After I read the posting of the time and date for the next class, I approached my kids with the news. Mark and Jack have both attended this type of training before, Mark twice before. Regardless of previous training both boys are required by this church to attend their training. Now that Emma has been through enough of her sacraments she is also allowed to perform the alter serving duties. I thought Emma would be happy, excited even, to learn that she could finally do something the boys could. I am forever hearing about how, "it's not fair...." for what ever reason, that she isn't included in their boys' club.
With great enthusiasm I announced the next meeting time. My announcement was met with some resistance from the boys. They failed to see why it was necessary that they attend yet another alter serving training. I can understand and sympathize with their annoyance. Yet, I can see both sides of the issue.
If the boys' reaction was not what I expected, Emma's was even less so. She gave me a stern look and stated, "I do not want to serve. When you serve you have to sit up on the alter and be good. You cannot sit with your family. And everyone in church is staring at you." I was shocked at this response. I have to admit it gave me pause for a moment. Perhaps, I thought, she doesn't understand the honor associated with this position. I thought I would let her know some of my feelings towards alter serving from when I was a girl. Clearly then she would understand. I turned around in the front seat and said to her, "Emma, when I was a girl, I always thought it would be a great honor to serve up on the alter and participate in mass. But back when I was in school girls could not be alter servers. I always thought that was unfair." Now she would see, wouldn't she?
She looked at me with complete sincerity and said, "Mom! I am not you. I cannot live your old life for you. This is my life and I need to live it my way." Ah, okay. That would be a No.