Each Sunday afternoon, I repost tweets that (mostly) youth send out about their confirmation classes, some of which are positive, but most are of the “shoot me now” variety.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post based on what I learned from the tweets about Four reasons youth hate confirmation classes. This year, I vowed I would learn from the tweets what are the reasons that youth love their confirmation classes. It seems to boil down to one: they feel connected.
Over and over what I see from those tweeting happily from or about confirmation class is that they are comfortable with the other members of the class, that they like the leader, that they feel respected and valued. Never have I seen a tweet saying, “We learned the most incredible stuff about prevenient grace today.” But over and over, I’ll see how people love their confirmation class, linked with photos of the group.
I will also point out that many of those whose tweets are negative are those who feel they don’t know anyone, don’t like anyone, or are picked on by other class members or the leader of the class. I suspect the way to change their experience is not to Teach More Stuff, but to make sure confirmation is a safe and healthy space for them to be.
All of which speaks to the importance of how we prepare for our confirmation programs on the interpersonal level. How can we create healthy connected groups of people? What can we do to help youth get to know one another in a way that is real, but not invasive? What can we do to prevent bullying or abuse in our programs? What can we do to be present in the class as people and not just purveyors of information, at an appropriate level of sharing?
I’ll be addressing these questions in my next blog post. And in the meantime, if you have thoughts, please add them in the comments!