Sunday, January 21, 2007

Talking with (Almost) Teenagers about God

I led Sunday School today at church, for the pre-teen group, which happens to be all boys. I mostly use discussion, and this day the actual teenagers were all sleeping in at home or staying upstairs for the service, so we got the cool little "Teen Followers" den to sit in, with comfy couches and throw pillows (emphasis on "throw"). We started out talking about what's been happening during the week, how is "back to school after Christmas" treating them etc. We had quite a colourful discussion about movies they have all been to see (Jackass 2 on dvd and Borat in the movie theatre, it turns out). I invited them to explain to me what 11 and 12 year old boys think is funny, and that was a funny conversation in itself. Somehow I successfully segued into today's conversation topic, which was "what does it mean to be part of the body of Christ?" Somehow the magic happened, and in between tossing pillows and cracking up laughing, they engaged in an interesting conversation about whole bodies and incomplete bodies, with reference to the individual's body, the world and universe and our own church community, and how it connects to the idea of Christ's body in communion and the world today. I thanked the boys at the end of the hour for their good conversation and told them truthfully that I had learned some things from them. This is such a cool age to work with when you catch them in a receptive moment. They are smart and insightful, with strong instincts and developing altruism. They are idealistic and justice-oriented, and if you're lucky, they'll tell you, and each other, about it. I'm always shaking a bit in my boots when I go in to teach, not being an expert on the Bible or religion, but I think it ends up being to my advantage. There's not much I can teach them that they're not already figuring out themselves, so we take the journey together. The scriptures reading and the curriculum are a helpful guide, and my Sunday School Coordinator is wonderfully supportive and resourceful. But mostly it's the kids. Thank God for the kids.

question: have you talked with an 11 or 12 year old lately?

mompoet - boggled by brilliance (and a bit too much information about Borat)


Lynn Valley Girl said...

It's amazing what you can learn while teaching. Kids (boys) at this age are wonderful, I agree.

Imran said...

Everyday. My son is 11 this year. Tough character and opinion-developing "pre-teen" years for us parents.