Randee Paraskevopoulos's 6th grade Confirmation group reminded her how to learn humbly:
Working with kids and youth is not
where I like to serve. That’s just a nice way to say I really don’t like it. I
stood up in worship a while back when we studied spiritual gifts and admitted
kids are not my comfort zone and definitely not my passion.
The only exception I’ve made is to
work with each of my daughters as they went through Confirmation – a year-long
study that ends with the 6th graders making a decision about whether
or not they want to “confirm” their baptism and choose to give their lives to
I just finished my second (and
final) tour as a Confirmation small group leader this year as my youngest went
through the program. This past Saturday, my co-leader Emily Evans and I stood with each of our 10 amazing young ladies for confirmation.
Here at Trietsch, Confirmation is called “The Journey,” and the youth are
constantly reminded that this is only a step on that journey – that they will
continue to grow and learn in their faith their entire lives. When we started
this journey back in October, we gave each girl a tote bag emblazoned with
“Let’s go on an adventure.”
I’m not sure who learned more on our journey. The girls, or me?
One of the first things we did was to come up with a group name. The girls
embraced the concepts of journey and adventure literally and decided on “Little
Einsteins.” If you know the Disney Junior show’s theme song, you can sing our
version, “We’re going on a trip in our favorite mission bus. Soaring to the
cross. Little Einsteins.”
I’ll admit I cringed when they settled on the name, but that’s what they
wanted. Little did I know they’d stumbled on the perfect name for our
Little Einsteins started to make
sense to me in our lesson about the Bible. We asked the girls what they thought
each verse was about. We encouraged them to figure it out for themselves what
God was saying to them through the Bible.
After Christmas, we learned about
our faith heritage and Methodism founder John Wesley. When we explored the
Wesleyan Quadrilateral – lo and behold – one of things we’re supposed to look
to is reason, and we got to remind our Little Einsteins to use their
brains to come up with their own answers.
Our final discussion was after retreat, when we talked about choices and
consequences. They’d already decided to commit their lives to Christ, so this
was the lesson about how that decision might change the way they live.
Right up there after life and
grace, I believe our ability to think is one of the greatest gifts God has
We implored the girls to use their brains and think about the consequences
before they make a choice.
Those girls made an awesome choice
in a small group name, even if they might not have known it at the time.
Sixth graders are impressionable, and I pray the impression I made on them was
that it’s okay to question or to doubt. It’s okay to disagree with someone’s
ideas. It’s okay to continue to learn. Actually, it’s more than okay to
continue to learn about God. It’s their responsibility as Christians.
It’s our responsibility as
Looking back at the last year of
Confirmation, I’m in awe of these girls. They care about what they were
learning. (They took notes!) They love God and each other. They find fun
no matter what they were doing.
I learned from their insight. I
learned from their uncontainable joy. I learned something from them every time
I saw them. And I’m shocked to say this, but I’ll miss them.