Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back To Junior High

I used to teach junior high at church. I like that age; they aren’t too cool to be honest about what they really think and feel. They love playing dorky games and doing dorky things.  And they have a lot to say, though in my experience they often said it when they were supposed to be quiet.

I used to think they could keep their mouths shut if they wanted to.  I kind of wonder if I would still think that.

I worked hard at coming up with new ways to get biblical truths across to the kids, and I'm not gonna lie. One night was epic. 

I set a table with a white lace tablecloth, china dishes, crystal glassware and my best silverware.  I had a candle on the table and a rose in a vase…it was lovely, and unexpected. 

So was the meal.  I scrounged around in a couple of refrigerators (locations and owners shall remain anonymous) and came up with the nastiest, rottenest. smelliest food I could find.  Then I served it on the lovely dishes.

The room was full of groans, and squeals and grimaces and threats of barfing.  If I remember right, the man helping in class that night couldn’t handle it.  He had to leave.

Admit it, it’s a great analogy for hypocrisy.

I moved up to teaching high school shortly after that triumphant night.  I figured I had reached my junior high peak and there was no place to go but down.

My daughter and son–in-law work with the junior highers at their church and last week I got to attend youth group and meet a few of  "their" kids.  The interaction was a hoot, and I had a blast watching as the group sat in a circle and passed a roll of toilet paper behind their backs, waiting for the person in the center to guess who had it and smack them with a broken pool noodle.    

It was a dorky game, but they loved it.

I came away thinking that junior highers haven’t changed much, but I have. I was very content to watch from the sidelines as my kids played the toilet paper game and got smacked.  It was wonderful to see them step into that place of ministry wholeheartedly. 

And maybe one day I'll hear lots of groans, squeals and disgust coming from the Portland area.  

Then I'll know the torch has truly been passed.

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