Help, I know nothing!

scream.jpg I wrote once before on Recipriversexclusions, a concept from Douglas Adams that I applied to invitations to preach or teach. The concept being that a significant detail will vary from the invitation received. My favourite up until now was being asked to Preach at a Youth Service on “Sexuality” and having set up lots of multimedia and the opening track on “Let’s talk about Sex baby” to set the tone (loud) I had a bit of a surprise. The Church was packed AND there were NO teenagers!
My latest stress though perhaps eclipses this, I am due to give a lent talk on Youthwork and the importance of listening to teenagers.
Last night however I found out the talk has been publicised as “The Spirituality of Children, why it’s important to listen young people!”
AAAaarrrrgghghghghghg!!!! You could write what I know about Children’s spirituality on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare. I have not had time to set up the code for a proper online survey but nontheless, I ask you if I should:
1. Politely decline the gig citing ignorance of the subject matter
2. Chew off my own foot so I can hide in the hospital casualty department
3. Start the talk off by saying, “Now for something completely different”
4. Try and speak on Childrens spirituality
5. Ask my 8 year old daughter to do the talk instead
6. Join the French Foreign Legion

10 Replies to “Help, I know nothing!”

  1. I’d say you should probably go for 1, they may even change the title of the talk (if its possible).
    But if it was me, I’d do number 4, because I hate letting people down. Doesn’t mean its the right thing to do though.
    Let us know what you decide to do and what the outcome is!

  2. You could do what many people do – start with the subject and go where you want! When I was at colllege several people did that in preaching class – they read the text, started in relation to it but ended up doing what seemed like a favourite unrelated talk! Seriously I would focus on the second part and church in stuff about sprituality and young people. Or phone a friend.

  3. i advise the last one!! ok maybe not practical. I think i would look at general child development stuff, like what is happening physiclly, socialy, mentally etc and draw parralels with how these might influence sprituality. How children see the world in general is strongly linked to their spirituality. I presume ‘children’ means up to 18?

  4. I think I would be tempted to go back to them I the first place and say look this title that you have published doesn’t seem to me to be what you asked me to speck on and then get an idea of what they are really after, you never know having asked for one thing, published something else they probably want you to talk on something like ‘being a spiritual guide to your children’ or possibly even something totally unrelated like ‘my experiences of the gulf war’. If they come back with something you don’t feel equipped to tackle you’ve then made it a lot easier to pull out, it’s their fault! Alternatively you could make it what you think you should talk about using their ideas as a rough guide, lastly you could try play load ‘Salt and Pepper’ tracks and seeing what happens!

  5. tehehe – I like the idea of 5.
    tho i think that 1 is the best idea – they’ll appreciate your honesty and may change the title to something that’s a little more your speciality. tho the ‘why it’s important to listen to young people’ but is all good.

  6. you could run with the ‘why it’s important to listen to young people’ thing…
    examples include:
    ‘Hey man, you’re leg’s on fire..’
    as two young people leave with an axe to chop firewood… ‘Ian, have you done the risk assessment for that…’

  7. You have had far too many serious responses to this question – I thought youthworkers generally saw the funny side?!
    I would a) blame it on the weather – view my blog for new photo of snow as I write this. b) adapt a great statement which reads everything I need to know in life I learned from my Teddy Bear. c)Tell them that they are never going to listen to children or young people if they don’t learn to listen to one another.

  8. If you want to go down option four, I have a couple of resources I could email or fax you. Send me a private email if you’d like help. the resources I have talk a little about spiritual development as a component of overall development, and also about some of the cultural norms affecting children in the 1990s – a little old I know, but some of the stuff may still be applicable.

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