Well, the saga that is my teaching senior high youth Sunday School continued yesterday. OK, so some of you know there have been some valid parental concerns about using The Simpsons
as a spring-board for discussion. Well, those have been addressed by creating some options for the youth, including one class that looks at the stand the Methodist church takes on social issues and one that is for girls only. In fact, one of the many complaints from my big critic was that her daughters felt uncomforatable in a Sunday School class with boys and that there should be separate classes. So, she's got what she wanted--which was a Sunday School class only for girls for her daughter to participate in.
Well, as I was taking roll and chatting with the class yesterday, I noticed my big critic walking past the door several times. And each time, she'd glare in at me. She had her daughter in tow and maybe she was trying to figure out where the girls' Sunday School class was. Eventually, I went over to the door, saw her walking by, glaring and did something horrible...yes, I smiled, greeted her by name and said "Good morning" to her. Shocking, I know! I guess I don't speak whatever language she does or there is some new meaning to the phrase "Good morning" cause she looked horrifed and shot off down the hall. I guess enjoying The Simpsons
in contagious and she didn't want to catch it.
About five minutes or so later, I took the roster and the offering envelope out the hall and noticed my critic and her hubby down the hall. I smiled at them as I put down the clipboard and noticed them glaring at me. I just smiled and went back into my classroom and continued onward.
Our discussion yesterday was related to temptation. We looked at some scripture from James that talked about being tempted and that we'd never be tempted more than we could bear. (I need to remind myself of that one some days, let me tell you.) To illustrate how temptation can happen, we watched the first season episode "Life on the Fast Lane."
In the episode, it's Marge's b'day and Homer has forgotten yet again. Homer runs out and buys Marge a bowling ball, even going so far as to get his name engraved on it and it has the holes drilled for his hand. Marge is enraged, especially after having defended Homer to her sister earlier in the story. To spite Homer, she keeps the bowling ball and decides to take up bowling. At the bowling alley, she meets Jacques who is a bowling alley hustler. He begans to chat up Marge and agrees to teach her to bowl. Jacques is a smooth operator, flirting with Marge and paying attention to her. He even goes so far as to get her a bowling glove with her name on it. He meets her from brunch. Meanwhile, Homer begins to suspect something is wrong but follows his own advice of--well, if you can't talk about it, bottle it up. Finally, in desparation, Homer goes to Marge and compliments on her peanut butter and jelly sandwich making ability...this right as Jacques has asked her to meet him at his apartment later that day. Marge ends up driving to the plant, finding Homer and they head out to his backseat for 10 minutes...
Again, it's a good episode, though certainly not one I'd call one of my ten favorites. But it did start to spring into a discussion of feeling appreciated or underappreciated. I will be honest--watching parts of this one were hard for me. Seeing Homer be so insensitive to not even remember it was Marge's b'day and not bothering to get her a present...yeah, that one hit close to home for me on a lot of levels. It's hard when a cartoon show hits close to home. And as I watched Marge feeling underappreciated, I have to admit as corny as the scene is where Homer compliments her peanut butter and jelly sandwich making ability really made me kind of tear up a bit.
So, as were talking about the hows and whys of Marge comes to be tempted, I asked the class an interesting question--is there anyone in your life you don't tell them how much you appreciate enough? Or that you love them? Or do you just assume they know. And then, in talking about it, I challenged them this week to basically do what the Complimenting Commentor has been doing for a while now--find a person and just give them a word of appreciation.
Just to sound cheesy as heck, it can make a world of difference. Last week, I got an e-mail devotional written by some of the leadership in our church. In the e-mail, it was talking about people who used their talents and answered the call to leadership. I was highlighted among a long list of other people in my church--kind of my hero's in the faith at church as it were. I was honored to be included in the same sentence when them, but also it was nice to be told that people noticed I was doing a good job and to thank me. And I just began to wonder--do I do it enough in my life? I mean, I assume my parents know how much they mean to me and how I appreciate all they do...but do I tell them enough?
So, I'm taking on my own challenge...to tell the people I appreciate that I appreciate them.
I swear there are some weeks I think I get more from the Sunday School lessons I teach than the kids do....not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/12/2005 12:45:00 PM