I love working with children.  In my work at the church, I am blessed to work with both children and adults and I know that you will think that I am a little nutty, but my favorite age to work with is middle school.  That’s the age where you see the most eyes rolled, hear the loudest sighs and watch as they ‘leave the planet’ and go somewhere else when you are trying to speak.

But, middle schoolers have a certain authenticity about them.  As I tell those I work with, ‘they can smell sincerity’ and if you try to give them anything less, you’ve lost them.

I love them because beneath their ‘cool’ exterior,  lies an innocent child who wants answers.  They may sometimes be too awkward to know the questions, but they are searching, and it is our responsibility to lead that search in the right direction.  We’ve all seen what can happen when they search undirected.  If they can’t find God in the church, they will find gods elsewhere.

So, for me, I just try to be as real as I can.  They need to see themselves in the story, all the stories of the Bible.  They need to see that others, especially adults, question, stumble and fall as much as they do.  They want to talk, yes, hard to believe sometimes, but they do.  But, they want to be listened to, not preached at.  They want to feel as though they belong, it gives them an identity.

They are a pretty great bunch of kids at a really fun age.  I am blessed to be able to work with them, but my methods are not ‘textbook.’  Most of my teachings are through Youtubes, powerpoints and music.  They’re worth the effort, they’re our kids!

12 thoughts on “Authenticity

  1. You must be a wonderful teacher, Andie. You obviously love middle schoolers and I can imagine them responding to you — authenticity. What a great word, what a great way of being!

  2. I like the tools you use to teach … Powerpoint, Youtube and music. It seems like those tools help keep you contemporary and relevant in front of a classroom of middle school students. It gives them something to connect with.

  3. Andie, I’m with you in finding this a great age to work with! Laughter, storytelling, and even quiet time (something hard to find in so many of the overbooked schedules) are some of the non-tech tools that can be used to effectively reach this age group.

  4. It’s funny how kids can instantly zoom in on those who lack authenticity. I think you’re right about them being able to smell insincerity 🙂 You must be an excellent teacher, Andie. You’ve written so beautifully here about middle-school aged children. My niece is very much like this picture you painted here – underneath the cool exterior is an innocent child. When she asks me questions I always try to answer her as honestly as possible. She’s a very sweet girl despite the eyerolls (lol)!

    1. Oh Mary, your niece sounds great and right where she should be! I get so tired of people who treat children (and teens) as if they don’t count. They have much to teach us!

  5. Love your blog, Andie and love that you value authenticity, one of my favorites along with spontaneity. How wonderful that as a teacher you see it and try to be it. How sad that we start to lose these qualities as we become adults. I just signed up and look forward to more of your insights. Thanks!

    1. Oh Mike, thanks so much and welcome! Yes, it’s really important to hold on to those qualities…wasn’t it someone who said, ‘unless we become like little children???’ 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: