The challenge in starting a new blog is that I'm full of things I'd like to see talked about-but would like a broader audience to address the several issues that cross our paths in ministry.
However, I'm going to jump in and begin a convrsation on a generation definition called "The Millennials" -that is, kids born between 1984 and 2002. George Barna from the Barna Group
calls them Mosaics there is a wide variety that describes them, but also some characteristics that define them as a whole.
(Again, I admit I'm not sure I want to post this yet, but due to recent developments here at the home front, I thought I'd try to put some thoughts out there)
One of the people I work with is the Dir of Faith Formation. While he does oversee all of the RelEd program (pre-school-12th grade) I discovered something that I almost choked on.
It seems he wants all of the catechsits to wear nametags. Some of the teachers are not getting respect and so he decided that they should all wear nametags.
I think it is a horrendous idea.
It has been my experience that, with this generation, respect is never demanded, it is earned. If I enter their world, they will more willingly listen to me and consider entering mine. A name tag says "I'm in charge, obey me" . A catechist who can reach beyond themselves and into the mind and life of a teen says "I am attempting to understand you because I love and care about you. How 'bout we see where this journey takes us, 'cause I'm all about getting to heaven and getting you there as well".
When I was teaching, I'm sure there were some catechists who couldn't believe how relaxed I was. However, I was not as relaxed as they assume. I merely told the kids that in this room, they respect themselves, other and whoever is talking. I had great patience, but also very high standards when it came to behavior. And more often than not, they began calling each other
on to higher standards. They knew what was expected of them and rose to the challenge because they DID respect themselves, others and myself-but because I chose to FIRST respect them.
That is, how is it that adults first disrespect kids by not entering their world to understand them, then punish them for being disrespectful?
What do you think? Are we, as adults, able to demand resepct? or is it more wise to earn respect? Is that the role of a catechist to a teenager? What part-if any-does the teen have?
PS I'm considering lobbying to have RelEd be under my direction-but that's another post!