Thursday, May 12, 2005

Teach Your Children Well

Hadge Hughes tells of his experience of wandering into an empty Sunday School room and his discomfort with the underlying message contained within some of the artwork and posters displayed in the room;

...Much of this was very subtle of course but the underlying message was clear, and anyone who has even a modicum of understanding about the psyche will know that the message is - 'You are a bad person - but God killed his only Son so that you could be forgiven - and when you are forgiven God will love you'. Stark isn't it? Is this the message we should be giving to our children? (or adults for that matter!)...

...It's time we began instilling some sense of value and self worth in our children. If you grow up believing you are a bad person you grow up with an almost unbearable burden of undeserved guilt - the gospel is about grace not law. It is irresponsible to manipulate children (or adults) into a distorted relationship with God on the basis of a false premise such as - you are bad - he is good - say your sorry! It won't do - but I've said enough for now.
I would suspect that Christian Education is something that many of us take for granted. Do you know what is being taught in your congregation?

Most Sunday School teachers are volunteers. My first assignment as a new member of a parish almost thirty years ago was to teach the 6th grade boys class. I attended the university at night, so the logic was that a student would be a good Sunday School teacher. No one ever asked me what I taught. The rector did drop in one time, but never offered any feedback afterwards.

The messages we pass on to impressionable children may linger for a long time. I think we need to give our Christian Education programs a high priority.

Years ago, the Good News curriculum was popular in the Episcopal Church. New teachers often found it less than adequate, as it required that you be able to quickly adapt when a particular lesson didn't work with your group of students. Lately, I've been pushing the Episcopal Church Curriculum, which seems to me to be solid and offers lots of options. I've never used it as a teaching tool on a regular basis, however. The feedback I've been getting lately from teachers is that it is less than desirable.

The new rector for the parish where I am serving, who will arrive in August, is quite excited about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I'd never heard of it before last night, when the vestry approved sending three members to be trained to teach this program within the parish. It looks like a very innovative approach. Has anyone had any experience with this curriculum?

Do you know what kind of messages are being instilled within the children of your congregation? Is there a particular curriculum you use? What works, and what doesn't?


No comments:

Post a Comment