Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday School Issues

Today I sent two of my boys out of Sunday School. They would not behave and kept being silly (mostly saying stuff that was irrelevant or giving the wrong answers and laughing). I gave them enough warning and they tried one more time...and they were out. It was just a little thing for each of them, but it was the final straw. A couple of the other students, ones who usually laugh or participate in the nonsense, were looking annoyed as well, so you can imagine how things were going.

So, two students and two results:

Student one: He and his mom came to me at the end of Sunday School. According to him, he hadn't heard my last question and that's why he gave the wrong answer (yeah...nice try, kid). His mom agreed that he was probably at fault, but he hadn't taken his meds that weekend and that's what happens. Even his teacher at school notices when he misses a dose. Okay, but you're giving him an excuse for not behaving. Besides that, you're allowing him to disrupt my class. She told him to say sorry, he didn't, and she let him go.

Student two: He and his mom found me after Sunday School. She gave him a look and he apologized for his behaviour, and more than just a "sorry." He was sorry that he had misbehaved, hadn't listened, and had been disruptive. After, his mom and I talked. She said that he had tried the "other people were also laughing" line as well as "but I couldn't help it." His mom wasn't accepting it. He was responsible for his behaviour and he had the choice of how to behave, and he could ask God for help to behave.

Guess which student is less likely to give me more trouble in the future?

Side note: I was looking at my stats. Someone has been looking at old pages from a few years ago (I don't know why; that's just what the stats say). I looked to see if there was anything interesting there and discovered that the small elf who sits with me in church used to be known as the little imp. She has been protesting being called the small elf; do you think she would prefer if I went back to calling her a little imp?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday School Lesson

We've been learning about wisdom this year in Sunday School. Today we started with James. The lesson was short; it was just an introduction to the book. As such, I decided to plan an activity to reinforce what we have been learning.

I brought 8 small boxes with me, hid 2 of them in the room, and scattered the other 6 around the room, in the open. I told them that they had to find the boxes that I had hidden. Once they found a box, they had to bring it back to the table without opening it. Then I sent them off to find the hidden boxes.

The first 6 boxes were quickly snatched up and brought back to the table, leaving 3 people still searching (I didn't know how many students there would be). One of them got close to the box and asked if he was looking in the right place; I told him yes and he soon found the box. At the same time, I was reminding them that we were learning about wisdom, and asking what they should do if they can't find wisdom. One of the quicker students started yelling that they should ask where the box was hidden. One of the remaining searchers asked, "Can you tell me where the box it?" to which I replied, "Yes. Yes I can." I suggested that he try working on his questioning and he looked perplexed. The other student asked if I would please tell her where the box was hidden, so I pointed her in the right direction. Finally, all the boxes were found and I let them open the boxes.

The 6 boxes that weren't hidden held random stuff that I found around my apartment. The other 2 had a note that told them to ask me for a prize (which they did).

Our discussion: First, to gain wisdom, you need to listen carefully. They were supposed to look for the hidden boxes (I emphasized that three times when giving the directions), not the ones that were out in the open. Also, just grabbing whatever passes for wisdom won't necessarily bring wisdom; rather, it might just be garbage. You need to seek wisdom like you seek a jewel. Finally, you need to be willing to ask for help if you can't find the wisdom you seek, but you need to ask someone who has the wisdom you need (asking the other teacher wouldn't have helped, since she didn't hide the boxes).

We also found some meaning in the stuff I put in the first 6 boxes (although that had been random stuff). One student got a coupon, which looks useful, but was expired: examine "wisdom" carefully. One received a notice about the cleaning of the underground parking lot at my building, which was not useful for him: some wisdom might not be necessary for you, but is good for other people. Another student got the nutritional facts from a package, but not the name of the stuff in the package: some wisdom needs context before it's useful. In all, it was a good discussion.

In the end, they each got a chocolate coin for learning something. The two students who found the hidden boxes, and the one who was still looking at the end, were allowed to pick something out of the prize box (it's just little stuff mostly for the younger students, but they like it too). There was a bit of "that's not fair" but when I asked why not, they had no answer!

It was a good lesson.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

For Valentine's Day

Normally I don't celebrate Valentine's day in any way, shape, or form. This is entirely because I am single and have been for a very long time. (For the record: if I'm ever in a relationship on Valentine's Day, someone please tell him that I know it's a made up holiday, we should be celebrating our love all the time, and all the reasons that we can ignore Valentine's Day. He should bring me flowers anyway. And chocolate would be nice).

Today, though, I bring you this.  Enjoy.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Update

I think I'm getting somewhere with the school assignments. I have two essays written (well, first drafts, but that's the hardest part) and I'm getting through the reading well. I have one major paper (20 pages) and a shorter paper that is an overview of Romans; most of that is getting written in note form as I read through the book with the commentaries. It helps that work has slowed down some, enough that I'm home most evenings. I have 5 weeks left and I think I can get it done.

I ordered more books on Friday. My landlords gave me a Chapters gift card as a "thank you for being a great tenant" gift and told me that it had to be spent on books for fun, not school (my landlord insists that gifts should be fun). I told myself that when I got the draft of the paper I was working on done, I could order books! I ordered The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the box set also comes with The Hobbit) and the Silmarillion by Tolkien and the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (side note: those of you with children should get them Sanderson's Alcatraz books). Not that I'll have time to read them, but I can use them to reward myself as I finish assignments. 

That's part of how I get through assignments: rewards. I also rely on an infusion of caffeine, Skittles, and Goldfish crackers (or, lacking them, Ritz bits peanut butter sandwiches). I also put in a movie that I know well (musicals work well) or put on a CD, and tell myself that I only have to work until the movie/CD is over. That way it's less overwhelming and I have some nice background noise.

I finished teaching Proverbs to my Sunday School class. We only reached chapter 9, but I basically just wanted to do the "my son" portions (skipping everything on adultery). Next week we are going to start James and discussions of the marks of a true believer.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday Stuff

My small elf is supposed to take notes in church. I got her one of those notebooks with the top half of the page blank and the bottom lined, so after she writes 4 sentences about the sermon, she can illustrate. Generally she writes down the title and passage, then puts a - on the next four lines for her points, skips a line (in case any of her notes are longer) and fills the bottom lines with random words from the sermon. Today she got a sentence for lines 1, 2, and 4, and then tried to convince me that she should get to draw a picture since she had taken the fourth note! Yeah...nice try, kiddo!

You know, of course, that true worship in church only happens with a good band, modern songs (or maybe some hymns with "updated" music) and lots of movement: dancing, hand raising, random shouting, you know. It's all about setting the mood and involving emotions. It's the only true worship.

Or not. This morning we stood in nice rows, with only an occasional bit of hand-raising, and a flute introduction followed by only the keyboard and singing Amazing Grace (published in 1779). And we sang out with absolute enthusiasm and praise and joy, and it was very good.

Just remember that, okay? It's not about what song we choose or how old it is or how much emotion you can perceive outwardly. Worship starts in the heart and works its way out because it cannot be contained. And that person who stands quietly and sings? Chances are, her worship is just as joyous and true and the person who dances her joy.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Thoughts on Inspirational Videos

Here's the thing: my boss is big on "inspirational" videos. We watch them at meetings and he used to send them around to inspire us during sales competitions. I am not motivated by videos (I am also not motivated by competitions, but that's another story). Actually, the last time he sent a video during a competition, it was of some guy singing opera, one of those "who would expect such an amazing voice from this guy" things. I told him that I was suddenly motivated to become an opera singer. I'm sure it's just coincidence that he stopped sending around videos after that!

Now I get that there are people who are motivated by videos. These are the same people who got upset when some fast food restaurant had an ad making fun of vegetables and people who bring them to parties, because, as we know, everyone makes diet decisions based on commercials.

This is what actually bothers me: a lot of these inspirational videos have to do with people overcoming terrible odds to do even the normal things in life (also, Rick Hansen going bungee jumping). It seems wrong to use them to inspire me to be better at sales. I think that it cheapens them somehow. Use them to help inspire people who are undergoing life altering challenges of some sort. They need to be inspired to keep going when life seems to be too big to handle.

Inspirational videos, posters, talks...none of them work on me. There always seems to be a disconnect between the talk and the real world. That some guy can overcome great physical handicaps to do great things has nothing to do with my sales record and I can't make them fit. I always walk away thinking "what does that have to do with anything?" Plus, I always get the feeling that someone is trying to make me feel guilty about not doing something or being better at something. I don't like feeling that I (and my emotions) are being manipulated.

Which is not to say that I don't like to watch the occasional inspirational video. I just don't like to use them and I don't like people using them on me.