Posts Tagged ‘learning’

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Personal Culture Wars

October 8, 2014

Lil’ man just started kindergarten. He spent almost three years going to a Montessori preschool. He loved it. We loved it. The school and staff were great. He made friends. We made friends with parents. Most days he loved going to school. We recently moved and were unable to find a Montessori school around us. The closest one was more than forty-five minutes away. The local public school has a good rating. Parents seem to love it. So with great hesitation and reluctance we chose to enroll him in the public kindergarten. And his teacher is great. He still seems to enjoy school. He definitely seems to be learning a lot. The teacher is pretty good about keeping parents informed about what is going on at school. But something has changed. Something I don’t know how to deal with. Something that probably has more to do with where we have moved than the public school environment. Kids are making comments that lil’ man takes to heart and now we are faced with fighting against a tidal wave of opinions we are not okay with.

When we paint our nails lil’ man likes to get his painted. Almost always orange, his favorite color. He had his nails painted at school and another kid told him only girls paint their nails. We’ve faced this before. In our old state. And he responded “my uncle paints his nails, and he’s not a girl”. Which is true, and was enough. This time his teacher told us his response was “I’m not a girl, I’m a grown-ass man” (which is something we tell him regularly). But now he won’t paint his nails because he doesn’t want the kids to think he’s a girl.

On the walk to school one day he saw a little girl riding a blue bike. He asked me why the girl was riding a boy colored bike. I was floored. We have always taught there are no such things as boy colors and girl colors. We talked about it again. Where is he learning this?

This morning I pulled out a shirt he hasn’t worn for several weeks. A shirt he had picked out and loved over the summer. He didn’t want to wear it. When I asked him why he answered “what if the kids don’t want to be my friend anymore?” We talked with him and ended saying “If someone doesn’t want to be your friend because of the shirt you are wearing then you don’t want to be friends with them”.

It’s frustrating. It’s heart-breaking. He is such a sensitive soul. He takes everything personally. He is legitimately hurt by things that most people shrug off. How can we help him stay true to himself amidst such things? How do I teach him to let these things roll off his shoulders without making him callous and causing him to lose such a vital part of who he is? How do I help ensure he doesn’t turn into one of those kids causing hurt to another? I feel so inadequate, so limited, so unable to help him be himself in a world that is determined to make him think a certain way and act a certain way. I don’t want to see his spirit damaged by others and at the same time I can’t bear the thought of seeing his spirit damaged by compromising who he is to fit in with the world.

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Spiritual Sloth

November 24, 2008

During church today I had one of those far too rare moments where the sermon really connected with me. Not that the sermon was that wonderful or great- a lot of what was said I have heard before, the way it was presented wasn’t anything special, but I was convicted.

In college I spent a lot of time with Elisha stories- a LOT of time. I had the privelege of learning drama from a man who has spent the last several years taking Old Testament stories and making them into live plays. Without changing or adding a single word to the biblical text. Some of the earliest work he did was with Elisha narratives. That said, I have heard this particular story several times, in several different ways, but today was a totally different approach than any I have taken. It was a look at the “spiritual slothfulness” of Naamen. Read the story here.

Busyness is not the opposite of slothfulness. We can be busy and still be slothful. We can also seem lazy and actually be productive. While this wasn’t necessarily meant the way it translates for me, I think it could easily be taken this way also. I spend a lot of time reading the Bible, a lot of time studying theories about God, a lot of time reading “Christian” books, etc. But this is busyness, and despite my time spent doing this things, I am still spiritually slothful. I do these things without gaining anything from them. I believe that someone spending 15 minutes a day in devotions is less spiritually slothful than I am. I take for granted the fact that I spend so much time doing these different Christian things, but truthfully none of them are nourishing me, none of them are strengthening my soul. I need to spend more time WITH God instead of so much time studying God. I can spend 23 hours a day doing what I do so much already- reading, studying, educating, and be spiritually slothful. I can spend 1 hour a day being with God and not be. At least, at this moment in time that would be a step in the right direction.

What’s your time with God like? Is it a time you are spending really getting to know God, or are you spending your time like me, studying and learning about God but never really getting to know his heart? That’s what I’m going to try to be better at. And I hope by writing about it I’ll actually remember to follow through.

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Help!

September 3, 2008

What constitutes “good” Sunday School material? Should all S.S. classes use a specific curriculum? What is the primary purpose of S.S. now? I am in charge of the upper high school (11th/12th) Sunday school class this year. They are finished with catechism and most of them have made Profession of Faith. Now it’s about nurturing their faith and helping them move forward to ownership of their beliefs. I think we are going to do a series that doesn’t use any sort of curriculum and is student led. I feel some hesistance from the church leadership about this though-they want to know what curriculum I’m going to be using. I feel like laughing about this because I have lead the youth group with the leadership hardly saying one thing or asking for more than a few updates on what’s going on, but apparently S.S. is something totally different. They found this DVD curriculum called [UP]. It’s a series of DVD’s with each DVD being a six-week course. Then they have each lesson/study lead by different Christian music artists. I was hesistant about the concept, but since the leadership seemed to really like it I checked it out. I’m not impressed. The actual artist led parts are fine-good questions and ideas, but the other half of the curriculum is far less impressive to me. They ask people on the street questions-the questions are actually pretty good in my opinion, but the answers are so shallow and/or stereo-typical good church answers that I feel like they would hinder depth and honest reflection in students discussing afterwords. And I wonder how does this curriculum help our students take possession of their faith so that when they leave for college or the working world and have to know what they believe and think about difficult issues they are prepared to handle them. So I want to dismiss this DVD curriculum and just do my questions for God series. But I wonder if I am trying too much to create something that is defined by my ideas and beliefs and opinions and not looking enough at the big picture. Am I limiting what these students can learn by imposing what I want to do on them? So I ask you for your help.  What do you do with your upper high school Sunday school class? Do you see any red-flags in either of these scenarios? Do you have any helpful experience with any similar curriculums/ideas?