Wednesday was the first day of school here in Casper. That means that on Tuesday night we had “back-to-school” father’s blessings. This has been a tradition in our house, as it is with many families. However, this year felt a little different. Todd, my oldest , is starting middle school this year. Geneva, my youngest, is starting full-day Kindergarten. It is a year of transition.
Shem, the new 4th grader, went first. I will not go into the details of the blessings themselves, but I love the intimacy of such blessings. I love the feel of their hair as I place my hands up their head. My hands on their head often reminds me of how little they really still are.
Geneva was next. A year ago, we were very nervous about her education. However, her speech has improved greatly and we now feel that she is ready to conquer Kindergarten…and the world.
After I said “amen,” Geneva jumped up. Beaming, she said, “I want to do it.”
She was standing by the chair…ready to assist in the blessing of her brother Todd. And she was pumped and ready to go. She had seen people at church during the setting apart of presidencies. Once a president or counselor is set apart, they join in with the circle for the next blessing. Geneva was ready to do the same.
Or maybe she has been reading Stapley and Wright and she know that girls have done this before.
My first reaction was one of pride. Pride in my bold little girl. She was ready to jump into the good work.
Now, Geneva is a feminist in training. That is for sure. She already thinks that Kristine Haglund and Tracy McKay are awesome. She is also a strong willed and determine little one.
However, this was not the result of a feminist impulse.
Geneva loves the limelight and the blessings were taking center stage.
I briefly thought about letting her join in the circle. However, I did not want Todd’s blessing to be about Geneva. I explained to her that Daddy would give Todd the blessing. Not because she is a girl, but because everyone was getting a special blessing from Dad and now was Todd’s turn.
I did not tell her that girls don’t give blessing. They don’t much anymore, but that was not the message I wanted to send. I do not let my young boys join in blessings. I had actually thought earlier in the day that it would be nice if my wife joined me in the blessing. However, I know she would never entertain such a thought.
I have been thinking about what it will be like when my boys start to perform Aaronic Priesthood functions. I look forward to doing those things with them. But what about Geneva? She will be keenly aware of being left out.
I have been thinking about these issues in the abstract for a long time. Now they are real. I am at a crossroads that I had never thought I would come to.
Maybe my family will do things different. Yet, I think it is something that we will do as a family. After all, my family and our relationship with each other and God is sacred. Whatever I do it will be for them. And not for show.