So, a long overdue update on how “quiet time” in confirmation went: Overall, it went really well. It was definitely something different for the kids, that took a lot of getting used to. In the beginning, they really didn’t like the “rules” part of it – the “no, you really have to be quiet, and not talking, and not moving around.” The first time, I made the mistake of letting them sit/lay near friends, so long as they were quiet. Well, proximity breeds noise and activity, so…yeah, that didn’t work so much.
The first time we did this, I gave them 20 minutes, and it was 15-18 before they really got all of the giggles out - longer than I expected. Then I brought them back to the chancel, and we talked – one by one, I had each kid share his or her experience – what they liked, didn’t like, etc. The kids who are “busiest” – who have the most jam-packed schedules with sports, etc had been going crazy. They were “bored” without something to “do.” The ones who are least busy – but still busy – had almost immediately fallen asleep, and they talked about how great it was just to have a few minutes of down-time. Those three sleepers then turned to the group of giggliest girls and announced that it was really hard because “people” were talking and whispering and laughing…ahem. Then we had a conversation about the Sabbath and its purpose, and about how each of us needs rest – rest for the sake of rest. Not a painful, tortuous rest that involves sitting on your hands and biting your tongue, but an actual relaxing “rest”. We talked about “hearing God,” and they allowed that constant busyness, constant talking and moving and doing could probably prevent us from hearing God. In the end, the 2-3 who were most opposed to this from the get-go offered – entirely on their own – that we could do this every week as long as we did the actual class stuff first.
I’ll take that as a win.
We only had two weeks of class left at that point, but we repeated the exercise each time. The kids agreed that they liked it, and that they felt it was important. But what surprised me – what I absolutely didn’t expect – was that parents communicated to me how much their kids liked it, and some even asked, somewhat jokingly, if they could join us.
So, I’m thinking…next year confirmation class will be over the Small Catechism. I’ve decreed that parents must attend with their kids, and I’m working on getting other adults to join us as well – doing kind of a cross-generational confirmation. I can’t decide if I should go with actual silent time before class, or having us all pray Vespers together before we dig in. I really like the idea of Vespers, but the quiet time thing was such a success…thoughts, anyone?