Pin—A Caring Youth Group


I heard someone talking this week about ‘revamping’ their youth group. They had asked the other teachers/ board members, ‘What can we do to make this group applicable and meaningful? We sit and talk and talk to these kids and it just bounces off deaf ears and glazed eyes.’ Everyone agreed. I’m guessing they didn’t come to much of a solution. This person, then, maybe somewhat at the end of his rope (a good end I might add) went out on a limb. The next time the youth group met, he interrupted the meeting and asked the kids, ‘Who cares about this? Do any of you care about what this is saying? Do you care about what the Bible says?’

Ah, reminds me of a quote.

“The question is not,—how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” – Volume 3 p.171

It makes my heart smile when I hear someone who doesn’t even know the name Charlotte Mason says something that backs up and reaffirms what she says. I say he is at the good end of of his rope… he is looking, he intuitively knows that the current model doesn’t work. In questioning the current status quo, questions will be asked, and with persistence and some direction, hopefully a good solution- a Living solution- will come to the surface. Nothing changes if questions aren’t asked, if we don’t yearn for more.

I couldn’t resist that open door. I planted a seed mentioning that an old educator named Charlotte Mason had made the same observation as she taught children. The seed was planted. It will sink in. I love to plant seeds!

If you too are wondering where the tracks should be pointed, Charlotte addresses this very topic in Volume 6:

          One of our presumptuous sins in this connection is that we venture to offer opinions to children (and to older persons) instead of ideas. We believe that an opinion expresses thought and therefore embodies an idea. Even if it did so once the very act of crystallization into opinion destroys any vitality it may have had; pace Ruskin, a crystal is not a living body and does not feed men. We think to feed children on the dogmas of a church, the theorems of Euclid, mere abstracts of history, and we wonder that their education does not seem to take hold of them. Let us hear M. Fouillée[1] on this subject, for to him the idea is all in all both in philosophy and education. But there is a function of education upon which M. Fouillée hardly touches, that of the formation of habits, physical, intellectual, moral.
          “‘Scientific truths,’ said Descartes, ‘are battles won.’ Describe to the young the principal and most heroic of these battles; you will thus interest them in the results of science and you will develop in them a scientific spirit by means of the enthusiasm for the conquest of truth….. How interesting Arithmetic and Geometry might be if we gave a short history of their principal theorems, if the child were meant to be present at the labours of a Pythagoras, a Plato, a Euclid, or in modern times, of a Descartes, a Pascal, or a Leibnitz. Great theories instead of being lifeless and anonymous abstractions would become living human truths each with its own history like a statue by Michael Angelo or like a painting by Raphael.” – Volume 6 p.110

[1] Education from a National Standpoint.

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