Teens teaching me

Teens teaching me

“You did all this for me, and I really don’t care.”

Teaching teens was not on my top ten list of comfortable things to do as a catechist. But, since when does the Lord ever leave those seeking to put their faith in action all curled up in a comfy corner of familiarity? Can I tell you when they asked me to teach teens this year, I about had a fit of fear that paralyzed me. Then, over the summer in one of my certification classes I shared my hesitation with a fellow teacher who saw my panicked shock and she gave me some great advice which I have put into practice since the first day of class.

They’re all over the place with hormones, fear of the future and many with messed up home lives.

 

Don’t take anything they say personally. Just show up every week ready to love them, teach them the truth and be their anchor.

I wonder how many lessons it will take in my life to finally learn–God does the calling and equipping. All I have to do is surrender my fearful weak humanity to Him and show up. He does the rest. .

It was a rocky start, but each week I simply follow the summertime survival code I was given. Ever so slowly I’m watching their trust grow as they become vulnerable and willing to participate in class discussions, asking deeply honest, intelligent questions. They are hungry to know Jesus, to understand how to live as Catholics in a messed up world. They are struggling to comprehend the reality of sin and the power of the cross.

As I prepared the class for reconciliation last night, I half wondered about an article I’d read by Becky Groth on “tips for teaching teens.” In it she says she once,

witnessed a reconciliation skit that was one of the most effective she’d ever seen.  Some teens (the intended audience) were standing in line at the confessional and talking about the stupidity of it.

 

They compared sins and laughed at whose were more ridiculous.

One young man pridefully decides he’s going to go into the confessional and just “make stuff up.” Then, as the young man gives up his fake list to the priest, the Holy Spirit leads father to give the following penance:

Go out to the crucifix in the sanctuary, stand before it, and recite the following three times:

 

“You did all this for me, and I really don’t care.”

The article ends by relating how the boy in the skit stumbled through each word, unable to make it to the last sentence.

What would be the attitude of my class as they approached the confessional? While we didn’t have anyone make stuff up or comparing sins, the whole time I watched them I thought of the task the priest in the skit gave the young man; how it would help all of us better understand the power of the cross, the depth of our offense and the true meaning of the words,

I’m sorry, Lord.

If there’s one lesson I long to give the teens this year, it is to better understand the enormous price Jesus paid on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

I think we’re going to do that skit as a class and my guess is there won’t be ‘a dry eye in the house’ by the time we say, “I really don’t care” for the last time.

Thank you Lord, for not letting me rest in my comfy corner of familiarity. I would have missed the opportunity to share Your love and forgiveness with these teens and to humbly receive back from them their trust.

 

+PAX

 

  • Peter Paul Rubens, Crucifixion, 1610, oil on canvas

6 Comments

  1. Theresa
    Nov 19, 2015

    Dear Caroline…

    It is Theresa (previously my desert heart)…one who has disappeared from cyber world!

    You have been coming to mind and I wanted to drop you a note.

    My life has taken an unexpected turn…for good…although it’s been a tough journey.

    If you would like to connect again, this is my new email: [email protected].

    You are in my prayers this evening.

    PAX +Theresa

  2. Theresa
    Nov 19, 2015

    PS…love the painting and your blog is beautiful!

    • Caroline
      Nov 19, 2015

      Theresa,
      So good to hear from you…Would you believe it if I told you that you have been on my heart for a while as well and I did try to find you at the desert heart!
      I would definitely love to connect with you. Thank you so much for stopping by with your new e-mail. I’ll be in contact soon.

      Blessings and +PAX Caroline

      • Theresa
        Nov 19, 2015

        God’s ways are mysterious! Yes…there is much to share…in God’s time. We are connected dear sister!

        PAX
        +Theresa

        • Theresa
          Nov 20, 2015

          Caroline…

          I noticed St Vincent Archabbey in your blogroll. Are you affiliated with them? I was on retreat there two weeks ago. I was going to email you when I saw that but realized I do not have your email any longer…mea culpa!

          PAX!
          +Theresa

          • Caroline
            Nov 21, 2015

            Theresa, So sorry! My former editor e-mail is disabled, but I’m trying to get it up and running again. Yes, I’m blessed to say that St Vincent’s is my monastery. +

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