Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Parables: 5 (out of 100) Things your Child Should Know Before Confirmation Class

Rembrant's iconic interpretation of the
Parable of the Prodigal Son
It was a conversation on the parables that first brought to my attention the possibility that students were not as prepared for Confirmation Class as I had hoped they would be. It was my very first class, and I was in my very first year of ordained ministry. We must have been talking about the New Testament or about the Gospels, and I asked if anyone could tell us the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Silence.


"Has anyone heard the story before, but just can’t tell it to us?"

Silence.

"Does the phrase 'good Samaritan' mean anything to anyone?" Hands finally went up in the air, and they explained that this is how you describe helping someone out, being nice to someone in need, going out of your way. They even knew about "good Samaritan laws" that reduce the liability of those who stop to help strangers in need.

But none of them could describe the actual Parable of the Good Samaritan. I had a very similar experience with the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The difference in our interaction with this other iconic parable was that they were able to piece together the details of the parable, but didn’t know that it had an official name like “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.”


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Worshiping with OTHER People's Children


A beautiful moment from last Christmas Eve, when I had the
opportunity to spend extra time in worship with a sheep who
was insistent on running away with the Baby Jesus. A memory
I will cherish for a long time.
Maybe it is connected to Einstein’s theory of relativity, but I am convinced that almost all other children in the world are better behaved, more thoughtful, and more engaged in worship that the one child that I am related to. I am not alone in this perception. We have arguments in my congregation among mothers who are all convinced that no indeed, it is actually THEIR children, sitting a few pews down from me, who are the absolute worst when it comes to sitting in worship together. I am always able to win these arguments, though, because I can remind them that I am the only mother who has to deal with worshiping next to my son AND be at my job at the same time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Faith and Memory (ization)


The current battle in our household is over very small things. Things so small they are represented by little numbers like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…well, these numbers are the actual small things that we are fighting over as my son’s disdain for memorizing his math facts has finally caught up to him.
Every night we sit down and work on his math facts for the requisite five minutes that his teacher has prescribed, which usually turns into ten after the corrections, the tears, and a bunch of backward sixes.

It is not that he doesn’t like math -- he loves math and science…in the theoretical state. He is adamant that he will grow up to be a Robotics Engineer so that he can make “helper” robots to give away for free to anyone who needs them. (This was his ‘dream” last January when we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.) When I remind him that robotics requires quite a bit of math, he sighs and makes a somewhat fatalistic comment about his hatred for his math facts.