One of the things I love most about working with adolescents is that they remember everything. Another is that they are ready to challenge your thinking. Often they will use you against yourself. Sometimes this is just incredibly annoying, and worthy of a death glare. Other times it’s so brilliant, it makes you smile for days.
Such was the case with The Ten Commandments. We were reviewing the CA social studies standards for the eighth grade CST. Apparently Moses was not the most chosen answer for who delivered these laws. Now if I’d been in a room full of kids who weren’t all self-proclaimed Christians, I’d be cool with that. However, coming from a Judea-Christian background, I was a little confused. I really do expect them to have some sort of religious background.
After reviewing The Ten Commandments (as in naming them), one student pointed out that they’re too hard to actually follow. I pointed out that I do a good job at “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Then C piped up. She pointed out that THINKING about it was also a sin. Of course she’s right. I loved that she was so quick, plus that she pretty much knows me enough to know I’d fantasize about it. I also love that she was willing to go there in class. It took guts to point out that your thoughts also count in a room full of people who really don’t follow the doctrine.
It was a good lesson for us all to ponder. If we actually had to confess to our thoughts as well as our actions, how many Hail Marys and Our Fathers would we have to do in order to be absolved?