As I've mentioned before, I've been asked to teach the english-speaking high school students seminary before school every day. Basically it's a 50 minute class where, this year, we will delve into the New Testament. I LOVE the New Testament and all that it teaches us. The life of Christ is an exciting thing to study and I don't think it will be too hard for these teenagers to understand and apply to their lives.
Yesterday I held an open house in my home to get to know the students a little better, allow them (and their parents) to see our classroom space, to define our daily expectations, and give a brief overview of our goals for this year.
I have been a nervous wreck about teaching this class. I want more than anything to be able to let these kids know that they are children of our Heavenly Father and that the answers to life's questions can be found in the teachings of our prophets and in the scriptures. I want them to make it through high school with a sense of self and an ability to withstand the enormous temptations that they face every single day.
While at the parent orientations, the PTA people shared with us the 'real deal' about teenagers around campus. Apparently they work hard and take school very seriously, but some of them like to play hard as well. Parties every weekend are normal. Parties also tend to start around 9-10pm. The PTA recommends that 9th-10th graders have a midnight curfew and 11th-12th graders a 1am-2am curfew. WHAT?!?!?!?!
These seminary kids have more than just the day-to-day stuff, they also have the added peer-pressure that comes with being a teen in this country. Where the 'norm' is unacceptable for most of their parents. They are trying to fit in and be a part while still standing up for what is right and obeying their parent's rules (which will seem very constrictive in comparison down here).
I love these kids. I hope that through this process they can learn to love who they are and what they stand for and not resent the guidelines and boundaries set for them.
Indulge me for just a minute, I have to tell you all about them:
Andrew, the seasoned student. Such a sweet, kind, patient spirit. He is the perfect person to have leading and guiding this group of young, 1st year seminary students. He's had Bro. Fagrell leading and guiding him for the past two years at his old school and he understands and has caught the spirit of seminary. He's also a valuable asset to me. He will tell me his real thoughts and give me kind, but effective feedback as we go along. I will rely on his expertise to help me in this process.
Alex is my quiet listener. He will open up once he's confident and comfortable with his surroundings but he must first observe and assess. He's just like his dad in that respect. He is a deep thinker and very obedient. I fully expect Alex to complete his daily assignments and have invaluable insights into the material.
Sam. Sweet Sam. There is something about this kid that touches my soul. He has a spunky spirit and very dedicated personality. He speaks his mind and will ponder what is said and truly take it to heart. I see Sam honestly applying these newly discovered principals in his life and striving to follow Christ's example. I also fully expect him to share his experiences with us. He will be an awesome asset to our class.
My saving grace, Ellie. Thank goodness for Ellie. As much as I love my boys - and I truly and genuinely love my boys - this class would not be the same without Ellie. We need a woman's touch in our class. Girls have a God-given gift that allows them to see things with a nurturing perspective. Boys can sometimes be all facts and numbers, while a girl will sometimes have the ability to see the softer, motherly view. We will NEED that! Ellie isn't shy. She speaks with authority and grace. I expect to have her leading the student's in their discovery of the scriptures. I see her not only learning but teaching all of us. I am grateful that she is willing to drive 30 minutes so very early in the morning to join us.
Granted 1/2 of the class is made up of my kids, but I tell you - I love these kids already! Our fist class is tomorrow and I can't wait to get started. I can't wait to learn with these teens and to learn from them.
Tomorrow the alarm will be set for 5:15am - It's seminary time!