Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ready or Not?

(What I'm Teaching, Part 2)

It's tradition:

Every third term in sixth grade Bible, we take one day a week (for about 10 weeks) to talk about "Preparing for Adolescence." Gil takes the boys and I take the girls. Ah yes. Remember those days?

It's great. I love it. I've done it now with four groups of sixth grade girls, I think. It's like one giant slumber party....giggling girls who all want to talk at once and ask the questions they can't work up the courage to ask their moms.

Now that I've seen some generations of girls not just prepare for adolescence but go through it as well, I think my tone has become more urgent over the years. Yikes. I look at these precious little girls in the eyes...little girls who still love life and love their parents and their biggest worry is their math grade. And I know what's coming.

Please. WAIT to date. Talk to your mom. Listen to your dad. Listen to your doctor when he tells you you are not fat. Give your heart to Jesus, not to boys. Surrender to the cross, not to a razor blade to make yourself feel better. Oh, and did I mention, WAIT to date???

This is the book we've always used.

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of it. I wish it did more to point kids to Christ during these difficult years. For example, (okay, getting on soap box here) the first chapter is on self-esteem. The book gives some good suggestions like:

1. Find some really good friends.

2. Find something you enjoy and get really good at it.

3. Remember you are not alone.

and so forth. Good, practical, common sense advice. But you know what's missing?

1. We are supposed to feel bad about ourselves. We are sinners. We do rotten things. That's what leads us to the cross.

and

2. The number one cure for a low self-esteem? STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF!!!! Think about God and think about other people and suddenly your life will not look so bad. Now, of course, I'm not talking about more complicated cases like instances of child abuse. I recognize that it's not always that simple. I'm talking about your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, "My-life-is-over-because-my-nose-is-too-big" type of low self-esteem. (And, as we all know, this doesn't go away after the teen years are over. 32-year-olds have to remind themselves of these things as well.)

But I don't stick too much to the book. And finally the class set is getting worn out, so after this year I am replacing them. I think I know what I want to use, but am always looking for new recommendations on books like this!

So if you think of it, pray for these girls. Pray that what they are learning will sink into their hearts so that they don't have to learn it the hard way.

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