The Shakespeare comes from Antony and Cleopatra and it’s below
he wears the rose
Of youth upon him
Antony and Cleopatra Act II, Scene V, line 12
The Bible verse comes from 1 Timothy 4:12.
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.1 Timothy 4:12 NIV
The conversation within both of these documents is the idea that just because you’re old or young doesn’t mean a dang thing. Quite specifically, the book says,
Paul insisted that Timothy’s gifts rather than age qualified him to serve others in the church, whatever others may think, say, or do.The Bard and the Bible
They continue in this theme in suggesting that as long as you are an example to others in “word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity”, the age of the individual isn’t something we should be judging or gate keeping. In the Christian faith, there’s significant conversation and theological traction about training up children in Christ’s path – that if we can help them see the love, the mercy, the grace, the humbleness, and the various other things that help us reflect our savior – that we can make better them better humans in their interactions with the world. That they can help change the world through relating with it, and in it.
But this blog isn’t about that. It’s about how I take these concepts into my classroom to use with my students. And the answer here is pretty simple – give kids the keys. I attended a Orange conference a few years ago (Orange is a Christian conference) and one of the speakers exhorted us to “give the kids the keys”. What he meant was to let them take leaderships roles, volunteer roles, and more – that empowering them to own a larger role in the church was a huge way to grow and build our church’s community.
To that end, we must give kids the keys to our classroom. Give them space to contribute, and even (and I know this’ll shake some folks) teach something. I did it last year where the last semester was a “Teach Us Something” project and the kids could chose anything in the world to teach. I’m doing it more this year with book talks, an expanded “Teach Us Something” project, but I’m always looking for new ways to challenge the norms, push the walls down, and build some new doors with new keys for our kids.
That’s my challenge in my career. Give kids the keys. And be accept the imperfection and perfect that follows.