Why Old Sunday School Curriculum is Bad for Elementary Kids

What kind of a lasting impact do you want your teaching to have on kids?

Do you want them to have been quiet the whole time and well behaved?

Do you want them to remember all the facts of the story?

Do you want them to understand the life-changing principles in God’s Word?

Ok…that was kind of a setup.

Of course all 3 are ideal, but if we had to choose, we all would choose the first one.

Just kidding.

We all want kids to understand the life-changing principles found in the Word of God.

But here’s the problem…oftentimes the lessons we hand volunteer teachers (or the lessons we ourselves teach) were written…well….a long time ago.

Like 10, 15, or even 20 years ago.

While the Word of God is unchanging and timeless, the methods, the terminology, the examples, and the life applications differ dramatically within that timeframe.

I’m not that old at 33 years of age (although I do have some grey hair strands scattered about my head), but I know that life applications written 20 years ago won’t work for teaching kids in 2017.

If you all of sudden start using examples that involve:

– iPods
– Chat Rooms
– DVDs
– Cartoons on Saturday morning

You will not only make yourself seem SUPER old, but you will also subconsciously communicate to the kids that you are really out of touch and don’t understand their lives.

Once a kid thinks you don’t understand their life, they won’t give you the time of day. (although they still may be staring at you while you talk)

Relevance matters to kids. Heck, it matters to adults.

You have to stay in tune and in touch with a kid’s world.

I think Eric Hoffer says it well:

“In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautiful equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

I see so many, beautiful, well-meaning teachers who haven’t watched a cartoon or talked to a kid about their hobbies in 35 years. And then they show up on Sunday morning and talk to the kids about “sharing the TV remote with their brother or sister”.

NOPE. That ain’t going to fly guy.

As teachers we must be constantly learning what interests and intrigues the kids we teach.

Just this past Sunday, I was talking to kids before class and you know what we spent like 10 minutes on?

Fidget Spinners.

(give yourself 10 points if you know what they are without Googling them)

So I immediately thought to myself, next time I use an example of kids playing together, I’m going to describe them as playing with fidget spinners!

It’s a simple thing, and frankly, quite trite, but it makes all the difference when you are teaching.

If the kids immediately relate to what you are saying, (aka: fidget spinners) than you have immediately earned a little more of their attention. They won’t check out on you because, well….THEY ARE SUUUUUPPPPERRRR into fidget spinners.

As a teacher, or a curriculum purchaser…

always look for material that keeps your teachers up to date and has them referencing ideas and concepts that kids understand.

The risks are too great.

We dare not rest on our teaching laurels…lest one day we realize that we are beautifully prepared to teach a group of kids that no longer exist.

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