During the Friday afternoon breakout sessions of the annual Religious Education Association conference, I went to a colloquium that included three different presentations, on quite different subjects.
The first presentation was titled “Deepening Pedagogy to Adolescents,” and was presented by Carmichael Crutchfield of Memphis Theological Seminary, whose research area is African American adolescents.
Crutchfield began by quoting A Winter’s Tale where Shakespeare has a shepherd say that the most troublesome time in a person’s life is between the ages of 10 and 23:
I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting… [Act III, scene iii]
This is just the time that neuroscientists now tell us that our brains are going through some major developments. He then read a passage which described how young people no longer treat their elders with respect — and then revealed that this very contemporary-sounding passage was actually written 2,500 years ago by Plato. So adolescence has long been a challenging time of life. “We are called, as practical theologians,” said Crutchfield, to “better understand adolescents.” Continue reading “REA conference, part two”