Ihoped to make an impact on those high school students, but things didnot turn out as expected. Every last Saturday of the month, I visitat least one high school to guide and counsel teenagers about theChristian way of life. To avoid redundancy and boring my audience, Istart the session by talking about a recent event familiar to them.This technique usually spices things up and makes the teenagers opento serious conversations. Midway into my sessions, I find everyoneenthusiastic and willing to share their life experiences with me.They seek both intellectual and spiritual guidance and I openlyprovide it to them. However, on this particular Saturday, the crowdwas very rigid and gloomy. I used my usual familiarity technique andit failed. Only a few students were interested in the conversation,while others seemed to be somewhere else mentally. From the look ontheir faces, we were in parallel universes. Because I am not used tosilence in an audience, I felt uneasy as I spoke with these students.
Surprisingly,even the tools from my Christian education toolkit did not work onthis specific crowd. Because no one is perfect and everyone makesmistakes in life, I used a personal experience to stress this point.I explained to them how peer pressure enticed me to take drugs andhow this behavior almost ruined me. If I did not get saved, then Iwould surely be dead from drug overdose. Normally, a personalexperience like this one should alert the audience and spur someemotions in them. Unfortunately, my audience was emotionless – theylooked puzzled and lost when I finished the story. They looked at meas if to say, ‘go on, finish your story and leave us in peace.’ Ifelt under so much pressure with this bunch. My most effective tooldid not work and that left me in a state of panic.
Beingthe professional that I am, I did not let them see me at my lowestpoint and I shifted the attention to the audience. I opened the floorfor everyone and anyone was free to speak their mind. By God’sgrace, one student took to the podium and spoke like I have neverseen. He openly expressed himself and the struggles he went throughas a Christian. Additionally, he spoke about the ways in whichChristianity helped him overcome those challenges. This child taughtme that perhaps I should have been more patient with my audience. Ishould have given them time to gather their courage and speak.
Patienceis a Christian virtue and maybe that is what I lacked in thissituation.1God was testing me and I failed miserably. I let my emotions insteadof my brain control my actions. The moment I noticed thenon-responsive faces on my audiences, I panicked and rushed throughthe counseling. I felt like the audience was judging me and I wantedto finish up quickly to escape the torment.
Thisexperience taught me the importance of courage and confidence inChristian education. A Christian educator should always be confidentin their skills and avoid presumptions. If I had believed in myabilities, then perhaps my audience would have been more responsive.I should have been more courageous and less scared of my audience.They looked up to me for guidance and I was afraid to give it tothem.
Thekey areas that I need to focus on to become an effective Christianeducator are patience, courage, and confidence. I need to be morepatient with people and learn how to control my emotions. As aChristian educator, I am a leader and people look up to me,therefore, I should be more courageous and confident.
Hershberger,Nathan. "Patience as Hermeneutical Practice: Christ, Church, andScripture in John Howard Yoder and Hans Frei." ModernTheology 31,no. 4 (2015): 547-572.
1. Nathan Hershberger, "Patience as Hermeneutical Practice: Christ, Church, and Scripture in John Howard Yoder and Hans Frei," Modern Theology 31, no. 4 (2015): 547.