the weblog of Alan Knox

When an object lesson goes wrong, but turns out better

Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in discipleship | Comments Off

When an object lesson goes wrong, but turns out better

As I said in my post “Teaching Workshop: Who Teaches,” I began a “workshop” of sorts yesterday morning with the church. This is a workshop like I’ve never done and, to be honest, like I’ve never really seen done. The topic is “Teaching,” but I’m not trying to share everything that I know or think about teaching, and I’m not suggesting that I’m giving a comprehensive overview of teaching.

Instead, my goal is to pick a few topics related to teaching and lead the church through several points based on each topic. (If you want to see the kind of things that we discussed yesterday, I shared the “outline” in the post that I linked to above.) For the discussion topic yesterday, “Who Teaches,” I wanted to church to think about several aspects of who is responsible for teaching. (In fact, there are several different answers to the question, “Who Teaches?”)

To begin this session of the “Teaching Workshop,” I wanted to present an object lesson to help people understand that anyone can teach. I knew that Mark, a 7 year old friend of ours, had visited a horse farm recently. So, before we started discussing teaching, I talked with him privately about his experience. He told me several things that he had learned about horses and caring for horses. I thought to myself, “This is a PERFECT object lesson for this workshop!”

Later, as I was beginning our time of discussion, I asked the children among us to name something that they enjoyed doing recently. Several of them offered different examples, like playing soccer. My young friend Mark spoke up, and I was looking forward to him sharing with everyone about the horse farm.

Mark looked at me and said, “I like playing Webkinz.”

“What?!?” I thought to myself. “Webkinz?!? What happened to the horse farm?”

Then, Mark spent the next 3-5 minutes telling everyone about Webkinz… about buying a Webkinz animal at the store… about creating an account… about logging in… about setting up a profile… about playing games. Mark taught us all about Webkinz.

It turned out to be the PERFECT object lesson, even though it was NOT the object lesson that I had planned. Even though everything went wrong (at first), it actually went better than planned. It’s amazing how many times this happens. I have something planned, but things don’t go as planned. And, of course, it works out even better.

My friend Mark (only 7 years old) showed everyone that it is possible for any of us to teach others.

Oh, by the way, I asked Mark what kind of Webkinz stuffed animal he had. He said, “A horse.” So, THERE’S the horse…