Wednesday, February 11, 2009

can i be honest for a second?

When you are in seminary, everything is so academic and theoretical. There is some practical stuff, but truthfully, it's hard to accurately portray and teach practical knowledge in the classroom. It's something that needs to be experienced, or practiced, and that's why it's practical.

So, when you go to teach Confirmation, and you find that most of your time is not spent dealing with the academic or the theoretical, but is instead focused on getting kids to focus and listening, and maneuvering people around, and trying to find ways to teach the information but also entertain a large group of junior high kids, and coping with young people with behavioral issues, and talking with small group leaders who have to put up with these kids and dealing with that fall out, and maintaining some sort of sanity and clarity of call can be tough when you're mucking through all of that.

Now don't get me wrong. I love these kids. There isn't one who I feel like I am incapable of sitting down and having a conversation with them. I know them by name, I can joke around with them, and more often than not I enjoy their presence. Even the ones with behavioral issues. But when you add all of this stuff together, in the span of one evening, it can be defeating. I mean, this is what I have felt called to do and this is most particularly where I feel my gifts lie. And so to have an evening turn out so disappointing can be a major blow to my ego and sense of call.

But then there is always something to balance out the bad. A conversation with one of the youth, or a 5th grader offering me a piece of his candy bar because he sees I need something, or the offer of a hug from an adult volunteer... These are things that make it worthwhile and remind me that even though one evening might not have gone as I planned and even though the craziness and unpredictability seemed to overshadow what I was hoping to accomplish, that I am doing something right. And that's helpful.


  1. Amen bro! I understand where you are coming from because I've been there before too. I've been so blessed here at DLC to have a confirmation program where youth come and learn with their parents. Makes the discipline issue a non-issue. Just some thoughts!

  2. Work never does seem to line up perfectly with training. As a church musician, nothing prepared me for discussions about when and where we could put the piano in the sanctuary. But those unexpected challenges are part of what makes the work interesting!

    As a transplanted MN Lutheran, I enjoyed finding your blog!