Lessons of Sunday School

I teach Sunday School and – no, it’s not for the money.  It’s all about the kids.

Sunday School is actually a pretty big responsibility if you think about it.  I mean, regular teachers only have to worry about teaching kids to read and add and subtract.  If they screw something up, no big deal.  At the very worst, the kid will probably excel in sports and then none of it will matter.

But Sunday School; you’re dealing with Good and Evil, the Big Picture, etc.  You have to deal with all of that and not screw up.  An example:

When I was young, I used to get dragged to Sunday School at our Methodist Church at least once a year, usually around Easter.  One year, our teacher, a nice woman with a beafic St. Francis of Assisi expression was explaining to us about Jesus.  He was crucified (i.e., killed with extreme prejudice), put in the burial cave and three days later he came back.

Some of the kids looked horrified.

One finally asked, “You mean Jesus was a zombie?!”

The beafic expression vanished in an instant and she started stammering away… no doubt while visions spun through her brain of upset parents cradling their terrorized children while lawyers circled overhead.

While this is the worst nightmare for Sunday School teachers, I’ve tried to take this, my lesson of Easter, to heart.   I try to be engaging with my students: ask them questions and listen.  I feel more empathy and find that the difficult times can actually promote a greater understanding of a subject for both student and teacher.

And if all else fails, I remember this is Sunday School.  I change the subject and ask if they want more juice.


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