Our children are DONE WITH SEMINARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, after 16 straight years of making sure that one or sometimes two children made it to the church at 6 am every day before high school, we are DONE.
Michael attended the graduation ceremony last night at the stake center. It was one hour long and then it was all over.
I am both excited and a bit melancholy all at once.
My two oldest siblings who graduated high school in '67 and '71 honestly did get to graduate after going for 3 years. Most people at the time didn't even think of going their senior year. By the time Tom, Vicki (me), and Camille came along in '73, '76, & '77 respectively, seminary requirements had switched and we had to go all 4 years.
Let me explain seminary a bit, if anyone reading this doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have a high school course of study which we call seminary. In the 4 years of HS, the curriculum takes you through:
1. Old Testament
2. New Testament
3. Book of Mormon
4. Church History (including modern revelation and doctrine)
This course is taught by volunteers, and attended by kids that are in high school. During the 16 years that my children have been attending, I woke up most mornings with them. ( I'd say probably less mornings as each became older.) For 4 of the years I taught the class myself. The first year teaching, Kathryn was a senior, the next 2 years I taught Stephanie's jr. and sr. class and the 4th year Michael was a freshman. That last year was the only year that I taught all 4 classes of kids together, but since then that is how they've done it. Our numbers had just dwindled down too few to warrant having to split the kids into a younger and older class.
When our two oldest boys were preschoolers, the Hubby taught early morning seminary in Oregon, to the high schoolers in Clackamas Ward. We, as a family, have been involved for many years in this great program.
Seriously, how many high school kids relish waking up an extra hour and a half earlier than their peers, so they can go do "Bible Study?" I really had few complaints from my kids. David was probably the most negative about going every morning, but he still did it without moaning too greatly. He just compensated by sleeping during Math class the whole way through high school.
Seminary has been a blessing in our lives. It teaches teenagers that mind over matter is doable, that there is someone (their teacher) who cares about them and their progress towards knowledge of the Gospel. Some teachers are favorites, loving and nurturing the young minds, while others help my children figure out how to get along with variety of personalities. Last night one of Michael's teachers wouldn't even comment on him as a person, and I thought it was too bad that she didn't allow herself to get to know this great kid of mine. Children in this great program learn their minds can memorize scriptures, grasp gospel messages, and that they can be an example to all their peers. They learn and gain understanding about controversial as well as obvious Gospel truths.
I think the kids in Utah and other more Mormon populated areas lose out on the sacrifice that it takes to go to early morning seminary. We moved to NorCal just as Jonathan was entering high school and therefore seminary. He would have had "release time" seminary during the class day in his Oregon school, but that was not to be here in Saratoga Stake.
I am so glad that my children have all had the opportunity, as I did, to learn and gain testimonies of the gospel through seminary.