Tough Crowd!

Remember how Rodney Dangerfield would always use the line, “tough crowd, I tell ya, tough crowd”?

Planet Orange

Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

Well that’s how I felt after last night’s class! The kids were pretty wired for some reason. I think it had to do with the fact that they had the day off from the school district and spent the day at the mall drinking slurpies (sugar) and Pepsi (caffiene)!

Having a fire drill 15 minutes into class didn’t help either!

Anyway, in general, 3 or 4 of the kids were pretty hyper and couldn’t sit still or stop making noises or side-talking. I had to stop a number of times to get back their attention and eventually told a couple of them that if it keeps up, I will have to call their parents.

“You have our parents’ phone numbers?!” one of them asked, apparently in shock.

“You bet I do and I’m not afraid to use ’em,” I replied. That seemed to get them to calm down!

We did spend a good chunk of time learning about how the Nicene Creed teaches us what we need to know about Jesus and then we looked at examples of heresies in the early Church that led to the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople where the Nicene Creed was eventually hammered out. We focused specifically on the understanding of Jesus as FULLY human and FULLY divine and why we need to avoid descriptions like “part human/part divine” or “half human/half divine.” We also talked a little about modern day “heresies” such as the Da Vinci Code which can lead people to false understandings about Jesus.

What worked best, however, was moving into our reflective prayer for the last 20 minutes or so. By spreading them out througout the room and assigning space to the few who were acting up, I was able to lead them into a prayerful mood. They were very quiet for the 15 minutes or so that we reflected, first listening to a recorded dramatic rendition of the “Who do you say that I am?” passage (on CD in the Finding God program) and then listening to me as I led them to imagine Jesus sitting down with them and asking them, “who do you say that I am?” I asked them to enter into a simple conversation with Jesus, sharing anything they wanted to talk about, listening to Jesus, and thanking him for this time together.

They are learning to really appreciate this prayerful time and they ask each week if we’re going to “do that prayer thing.”

Hopefully, next week they will be back to normal, tired out from a long day at school and less hyper!

Hey, that’s life as a catechist!

About Joe Paprocki 2737 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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