Some time ago Sarah and I had a great dinner with Jamie and Kate, one of the younger couples in our church. We had a great discussion, LOTS of laughter and generally had a wonderful time. There was one part of the conversation that stuck with me, even more so than the banter regarding the different bathroom habits of men and women in public restrooms. Which is a subject matter for an entire blog entry in itself and perhaps a federally funded investigation.
No, the specific topic that captured my attention was Jamie and Kate’s insights into church services and specifically the Wednesday night services for the youth. Kate, who by the way could argue her way into the Supreme Court, probably summed it up best. I don’t recall her exact words but my take away was that while certainly not exclusive, it is leadership that primarily dictates student behavior in a class situation.
Let me explain, currently “discussion” tends to be a list of over simplified questions. As one is answered we simply move on to the next so we cover the material. This approach has created low-level of expectation on the part of the leaders. Our conclusion was, if expectations were raised then the involvement and responses of the students would rise accordingly.
Ok, great. How do we raise expectations? First, there must be a conviction in our own hearts that says, “I believe this, it is important.” Second, a leaders expectations concerning behavior and responsibility must be communicated clearly. This needs to be done repeatedly and in different ways. This is necessary not because of unruly students but because human nature requires it. Third, accountability among leadership and the students. Meaning if your really not prepared to have a discussion then you should either be quiet and listen or excuse yourself from group. And there is no harm in either approach.
I kind of enjoy writing down the argument or logic if for no other reason it leads me to other ideas.