The holidays are here. Therefore, Vacation Bible School is on.
This week I (with others) have been facilitating life skill lessons for teens at Nairobi Central SDA Church. VBS has a program for the whole spectrum from the toddlers right up to
the teens, but my efforts are focused exclusively on the teen
demographic. The Theme is "unlock your mind." I am working alongside a talented dedicated group of visionaries led by JT.
The experience is new to me. Having previously never attempted to instruct teens before, I was apprehensive beforehand. For the most part my doubts about adolescent intransigence turned out to be paranoid pessimism. However it was quite a herculean odyssey getting through to them. It is harder to extract blood from a stone than a response from a group of teens who are still sizing your head up. Eventually, after a volley of leading questions was responded to with loud silence, we established a sort of mutual understanding with them - teens can not be commanded like troops nor coddled like toddlers - and the lessons could proceed. Somewhat.
Now as the week enters homestretch I wish these things we are teaching ("discussing with") the teens had been discussed with us while we were teens. Certainly in my puberty some adult figures around us attempted to clarify certain vital truths but I for one was not big on lectures. However these teens have the superior advantage of learning the same things in the company of fellow teens and in an environment where they can ask questions freely and supply their own answers. Having their peers around makes teen activities more meaningful, more fun, for them. We facilitators mostly just guide the discussion from one topic to the next and supply the Biblical framework, or reinforce theory with our own good or bad experiences.
This week's program is practically at an end - two days remaining - but next week another VBS begins on Monday 21st April to Friday. Same content. Any teens you see potentially frittering away their April holiday on idling, TV, drugs, sex and other unfruitful dissipation, drag those teens kicking and screaming to VBS. The teachings will serve them for life.