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!