Today, Pastor Tish and I led our Jr. High Confirmation students in a prayer retreat.
Have you ever heard Jr. High students be quiet? Me neither.
By the time their parents came to pick them up, I was telling the parents, we contemplatively wore out the students. Which meant we were sending them home full of energy.
I could write many posts about these students. They are setting the bar super high for future Confirmation classes. They are intelligent and intuitive. They are compassionate and loving. They are also accepting and inclusive. They continue to amaze me.
After discussing a type of prayer structure to use, and then practicing it, the question was asked what did you like or not like about that? One of the students didn't like it because she thinks of praying as a conversation with a friend (God) and being forced to use structure made it more difficult for her.
I explained that many adults don't even know how to pray. That they are a unique group of students who are amazing, and we have these structures in case there ever comes a time that something happens and prayers just don't come to them.
The rest of the day went very well. I made it a point to tell them that it was okay to be quiet. That it may make them uncomfortable, but they needed to respect that others might need the quiet.
They did okay.
We had a few timed, completely quiet, sessions and it was absolutely quiet. No one moved, rustled, or even sneezed. For two minutes at a time! Three times!!! I was impressed.
They also had a Silent Walk with several prayer stations. At the end of the day when I asked them what they liked best almost all of them said the Silent Walk.
I would call it a success.
I'm thankful for the silence that the students honored and for these students.