On Monday evening, I had a cozy little group of 7 students, since 3 were rehearsing for the Living Stations. I used this opportunity to continue our exploration of the Ten Commandments, looking at real-life examples of how to live out the spirit of each of the Commandments.
It turned out to be a very nice evening except for one thing: the boys (3 of 4) developed a severe case of the Sixth Commandment giggles. In other words, they could not stop themselves from giggling at any mention of of anything related to sex.
I have no problem engaging in straight talk with kids about sex and the girls and one of the boys seemed very appreciative of the candor of our discussion. The 3 gigglers, on the other hand, just could not get a hold of themselves. I remarked several times that they needed to show more maturity and to resist the temptation to react childishly to the topic of sex. Unfortunately, they were too far gone and could not bring themselves to stop giggling. They didn’t ruin the session, but they clearly showed a lack of maturity. I hope that my admonitions will be part of the push they need to move to the next level of maturity.
Interestingly, one of the giggling boys asked if he could have a time-out and stand in the hallway, which I was more than happy to grant. I believe that he was doing what he could to separate himself from the immature behavior but realized he couldn’t control his laughter in his friends’ presence. I thought that was wise of him to actually ask for a time-out. That was a first for me!
Thanks for sharing. I recently made a comment to an 8th grade group that elicited the same reaction. I had to step in on short notice for an absent catechist and used a term that I have embraced in discussions with older teens that I heard at a Silver Ring Thing event several years ago. As we discussed “8th” grade sins the kids seemed to be avoiding all things 6th commandment until I asked about “gettin’ horizontal”. It took me a good 5 minutes to get them under control. Fortunately the Spirit bailed me out and reminded me of another axiom I lean on with teens. The question regarding sex is not “how far can I go?” but “how far can I get from that line that I am tempted to cross over into sin.” The end result was very positive as the group slowly came to understand this truth. I think my God in heaven that He got me through what could have been a very tough session.
Great story Joe. It takes great patience in general to work with junior high kids but even more so when the topic turns to sex. If you can take a deep breath and get past it, good things often turn out.