Monday, February 04, 2013

Do You See What I See?

As an educator, one of my most embarrassing moments of failure is that, after trying twice, I could not teach my brother-in-law how to play the game Minesweeper. It's tricky, teaching Minesweeper, because playing it really involves a way of seeing in a particular way. I was trying to get him to see the numbers as the center of the squares, but he was focusing on the flags.

Teaching a new way of seeing is difficult, but I remember the teachers who were able to do that for me. English teachers like Mr. Anderson who would start on one topic and then magically guide us along until- WOAH! We are talking about semantics!! How did he DO that?? And my Psych professor in college, who taught us to read headlines and "stats" in advertising in such a new way that I've never been able to go back.

This reminds me of that old optical illusion... my Great Aunt Lucy had a cross-stitched version of this in her living room, and I remember one boring Saturday afternoon during one of our visits with her when I suddenly saw the word "JESUS" appear where I had once only been able to see blocks of black and white. I spent the rest of the visit watching the squares shift back and forth between the word and nonsense, fascinated.

I think religious education and Youth Ministry are all about teaching a way of seeing. Finding Christ, being aware of God's presence and love in our lives, cultivating thankfulness, living faith- none of these can be formed out of a textbook. 

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