How often do we hear kids say, either about Mass or about religious education class, “It’s boring”? Too often, I’m sure.
Kids (and most of us in general) are engaged when there is drama involved. That’s why sports is so big…we don’t know how the game is going to turn out and so we are engaged. Movies and video games are big because we don’t know how they will end.
One of the challenges we face as catechists is to present the drama of the Christian story. This can be particularly challenging because, on the surface, we know how the story ends. During Holy Week, we enter into the dramatic events of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. And yet, we know “how the story ends.” Where’s the drama?
The drama is, in fact, discovered in how the death and resurrection of Christ intersects with our own lives.WE DO NOT KNOW HOW OUR OWN PERSONAL STORY “ENDS.” We do not know how the Paschal Mystery will “play out” in our own lives.
The only way that the Christian story, and Mass, and religious education can be perceived as boring is if we in general find life to be boring. Granted, we do experience redundancy in our lives, but there is nothing boring about the human experience. Our challenge is to tap into the drama of the human experience and show our young people how the death and resurrection of Jesus is found in that experience and how the paschal mystery of Jesus can transform our experience.
One way we can bring our young people to this realization is to be sure that we are always addressing the profound issues of life going on around us. We need to invite our young people to pray for and keep in mind those people who are sick, suffering, oppressed, enduring hardships, experiencing the loss of a loved one, or a relationship, or of a job, and so on. We need to invite the young people to share prayers for people in their own lives who are experiencing these things, as well as the great joys of life…births, accomplishments, victories, vacations, engagements and marriages, and so on.
Life is not boring. It is full of turns and twists that can make our heads spin. We need to invite our young people to plunge headlong into the mystery of life and help them to see how God is found in the midst of it. We do our young people no favors by suggesting that following Jesus is fun or that it will take away all of our problems. The biggest favor we can offer our young people is to recognize the profound complexities of life within the context of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.