Sunday, February 06, 2005

In Awe of 8-Year-Olds

Today David and I talked about our trip to Israel with the 3rd-grade-class of Temple Micah’s Sunday school. David had already put together a really wonderful DVD of our trip with music and even some video clips, so we didn’t have to do a lot of preparation. As I came into the classroom, they were talking about the following section of the Shabbat morning service:

These are the duties whose worth cannot be measured:
Honoring one’s father and mother,
Acts of love and kindness,
Diligent pursuit of knowledge and wisdom,
Hospitality to strangers,
Visiting the sick,
Celebrating with bride and groom,
Consoling the bereaved,
Praying with sincerity,
Making peace where there is strife,
And the study of Torah leads to them all.

Specifically they were talking about the “diligent pursuit of knowledge and wisdom” and the difference between knowledge and wisdom. One child said she thought knowledge was what you learn and wisdom was using it to make good decisions. Another said that knowledge was the little pieces and wisdom was all of it put together. Yet another talked about something akin to nuclear fusion with little explosions. THESE WERE 8-YEAR-OLDS?

After they had their snack of dinosaur animal crackers and apple juice (which reassured me that they really were 8 years old), we started showing the video, stopping at just about every frame for a myriad of questions, like

–How is Jerusalem like Bethesda?
–What happens to the messages in the Western (wailing) wall when it rains?
–What is a suicide bomber? (This came up when we showed the picture of the wall that now attempts to keep terrorists from entering Israel proper.)
–Why are there so many churches, mosques, synagogues in Jerusalem?
–Lots of questions about the various gates around the Old City, especially about the Lion’s gate.
–How did you get all these great pictures?

By the end of their class we had barely gotten out of Jerusalem, so we are scheduled to come back for another round in early March. I really loved these kids. They were old enough to be able to think logically, but young enough to still be nice to adults. I think I may start to volunteer as a helper in this class. I don’t know much about teaching and I wasn’t born into this religion, but I think I could pass in a 3rd grade class!


Blogger John Lercari said...

Children are smarter than we think. They're just like us, only little!

The Memories Place

1:26 AM  

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