A kairos moment

July 6, 2010 at 12:02 am 2 comments

Religious Education has always been a bit like the Heineken of subjects on the National Curriculum; it reaches the parts other subjects cannot reach. Only if you let it though. Today, I had a ‘kairos’ moment with a bunch of year 10’s.

 Kairos? it’s an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment

So a few weeks ago I was supposed to teach the little monkeys about answering prayer. We were supposed to discuss whether or not God answers prayer. But one of my dear friends had just died (see previous post) and I could not come to work, 2 days after his death, and open up such a discussion when all I wanted to say on the matter was potentially littered with a few expletives.  It was the RE teachers equivelant of a Jilted Adam Sandler in ‘The Wedding Singer.’ So we watched ‘Bruce Almighty’ instead.

Anyhow, today was the day to consider whether or not God answers prayer. Suddenly I found myself telling a (reduced I’ll grant you) class of year 10’s that I wasn’t sure on this myself because my friend just died and God didn’t answer my prayers. Kids love stories, and they love hearing your stories. They don’t give you sympathy they want to know the details, they ask the questions that maybe adults should be brave enough to ask each other, they want to talk about things adults try to brush under the carpet. ‘Do we all have a time to die Miss?’ ‘Why can’t God just stop suffering? He’s not very loving is He?’ Then they offer answers, without prompting; ‘Free Will, innit Miss.’ Time to sit back and let them debate…they don’t hold back either.

Then for the heart stoppers. ‘What if someone dies by accident Miss? Is that part of God’s plan? My dad died by accident…I don’t believe in God.’ A moment of bravery, and an opportunity for a girl to speak from her heart in a safe place. Another girl; ‘I think good things come out of bad situations Miss. If the bad stuff didn’t happen to me when I was 2, I wouldn’t have been adopted, and that was a really good thing.’ More bravery.

Teaching is a crazy profession, it’s clearly not respected by the present government. But every now and then you have incredible kairos moments that remind you why you do it. Today the year 10’s learnt that it’s OK to talk about the tough stuff, because Miss did. They debated some of the most contentious topics in theology better than most theologians (in my view). Not bad for a low ability set.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

A hole in my life And what do you do?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Singing Librarian  |  July 9, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Good for them, and good for you. I hope they continue to feel free to open up, think, debate, argue and above all, grow.

  • 2. Helen  |  July 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I completely agree, they are, on the whole, a complete delight to teach. And we have the privilege of teaching a subject where ‘those questions’ can be asked and we can just say ‘I don’t know – what do you think?’


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