I was absolutely delighted to have an enjoyable 10-minute conversation with one of my 8th graders before class last night!
This doesn’t happen often for me. For one, the kids usually don’t arrive early or stay after class. Second, I don’t usually seek out conversations…it’s just not my style. Third, I’m very careful about not presenting myself as their “buddy” – I’m not seeking their friendship, just their apprenticeship.
So, needless to say, I was surprised when one of my students arrived early last night as we (all 5 catechists met together last night in one room to show a segment of Jesus of Nazareth) were getting things set up. I was dutifully connecting my laptop to the LCD projector when I heard a “Hi, Mr. Paprocki!” It turns out this this young person has decided to serve as a catechist’s aide for the first session of RE that takes place before our session. Needless to say, she was already in the building and came over to the room in which we were gathering.
She has chosen to serve as an aide for her Confirmation service and she is working with the kids who have special needs. As I continued to attach my wires, she pulled up a chair and I asked her to tell me about her experience. She was just so thrilled to tell me all about the kids she was working with and what she’s learning from them! Her catechist even invited her to come in with some ideas to reach the kids so I helped her brainstorm some ideas for presenting the Our Father to them next week.
She also was telling me about the things she likes about our class that she wants to do with “her kids” such as passing the candle around to invite students to pray a petition.
We continued with a pleasant, relaxed conversation as I continued to set up my AV equipment and, what I enjoyed most about it, was the way she kept talking about her kids that she was now serving. Might she be a budding catechist?!
I have to admit to being very guarded in such situations, especially when the student is a young lady. We all need to be fully aware of our role in providing a safe environment for kids, mindful of engaging them in such a manner that clearly communicates boundaries.
What a privilege to be able to interact with our young people in this manner! It’s humbling (and refreshing!) to know that some of them find us worthy of speaking to! 🙂