guest post by Debbie Kolacki
We live in a multi-tasking world. At any one time, we might be watching TV, posting on Facebook, and responding to text messages as we engage in sporadic conversations. Once upon a time, waiting in the doctor’s office or somewhere else meant that we had time to read a book or just do some solitary thinking. Now it seems that the sounds of the ubiquitous TV dominate every waiting room.
Silence makes us uncomfortable. Even in worship when we’re having a “time of silence” people often look anxious although the silence rarely lasts more than a minute or two. And yet, we need silence. As the saying goes, “Bidden or not, God is present” but we need to slow down and quiet ourselves to sense God’s presence.
One year my husband and I, along with an assistant, were teaching a class of very energetic 3rd and 4th graders. A typical lesson involved a variety of activities and we moved quickly from one to another. I decided that it would be a good idea to do a guided meditation with the kids. I mentioned this to my husband and he looked at me as if I’d said we should teach them college-level physics. “They’ll never sit still for that” he said.
I’d like to think we instinctively know what we need for our spirits and act accordingly but this isn’t the case for most of us. I was once part of a weekly Taize worship service that included not only chants but also ten minutes of silence. I considered those ten minutes a magnificent gift but after the services were disbanded I wasn’t able to be silent for ten minutes on my own. I needed the structure, the communal atmosphere to give me what I needed so desperately.
When I was teaching a confirmation class, one of the activities in a particular lesson was to create a short advertising logo for the church which could be put on a sign outside the church building. After much brainstorming, one student said “How about, ‘We Have Jesus?’’” Yes, that’s what it’s all about. We don’t need to copy what popular culture is offering kids; we need to offer them what we have that is unique to the church. We have the Trinitarian God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we need to give our kids the opportunity to experience this relationship.
Debbie Kolacki will be leading a course on teaching young children in the church, beginning September 15th. Learn more here.
Debbie Kolacki is a Certified Christian Educator and Certified Lay Servant in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has a BA in English from Wagner College and completed the courses for her certification as a Christian educator through Columbia College in South Carolina. She has taught children, youth, and adults and served in many areas in her local church for over twenty years.
Debbie is the senior consultant for Practical Resources for Churches where she works with people in all areas of ministry and leads webinars, workshops, and retreats. Her blogs include Faith Geeks and Practical Resources for Churches. She loves doing research of all kinds for church folks. When Debbie is not working for the resource center or doing church things, she enjoys being at home with her family and cat (Bob) writing, reading, and doing faith geek things.