Whenever your actions spark controversy, you are probably doing something correctly. We’ve heard this in many sermons in the past few months, and as a young professional working in public relations, I am certainly not surprised that people talking about you negatively is unavoidable with any kind of attention. I was more surprised, however, to see that kind of skepticism and debate in the Sunday School class I teach at St. John’s.
It’s the job of a teacher to make students think critically. With that comes pushback, particularly as students grow up and are exposed to more life experiences (I teach the oldest class). Often they will disagree with me, which first came as a surprise. I have lived twice as long as most of these kids, yet the experiences and insights I share with them seem to either fall on deaf ears, or are met with vehement disagreements.
As I’ve adapted as a teacher this year, I’ve learned that perspectives from people of all walks of life are to be valued. This realization has instilled in me patience, as well as an appreciation for what I’ve experienced in my life.
The complaints of a teenager now are so different than when I was a teenager, which was only 10 years ago. However, the enduring concept of loving your neighbor still resonates. Showing love can mean listening to different opinions and engaging respectfully with those whom you do not agree. In doing that, everyone benefits, both by the growth of raising a dialogue, and by communicating meaningfully with the diverse populace outside your own door.
-Quin Woodward Pu