Thursday, September 25, 2008

Standards Jeopardy

As a part of our yearly emphasis on youth standards, our bishopric took a teaching approach that was meant to be light, fun and engaging. I suggested we play a game to teach the youth and interact with them. The purpose would be to get them thinking about the doctrine and principles rather than being lectured to. We would at a minimum reach some through a medium that otherwise would have been wasted through over-the-pulpit preaching. The game: Standards Jeopardy.

As with the regular Jeopardy format, I, as the game show host, provided the answers to which the contestants supplied the question in proper question format (What is..., Who is...). The effect was a little confusing at first as apparently the game is a little antiquated for many of the youth (my own son was clueless). But after a while the excitement of the game took over and the three teams were at it, competing for points and more or less paying attention as some of the question/answers were quick and obvious.

What I noticed from planning, hosting and reviewing the event was the expectations of the event were not what I had expected. Chaos seemed to have been the theme and the planning of the teams certainly could have been more appropriate (many immature youth were teamed together rather than separated with more mature youth). I asked my son what he thought of the game, hoping for a more positive response and he admitted he didn't like it, was bored and confused.

Gratefully, the Bishop followed up the game with a set of clips from Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS church, on the standards of the youth. This provided a dialog opportunity though by this point the youth had already wiggled and now were complacent, yet mostly reverent. What was meant to be an open discussion quickly turned to preaching.

So the dilemma, for which I yet do not have a good solution, is our youth are either stimulated or bored but the spiritual sensitivity is often lost unless all the elements of perfection align. Many of our youth earnestly do attempt focus on learning but many are content to text each other, side-talk, act immaturely and otherwise rather than reaching their potential.

The jeopardy of the evening was balancing between fun, a different teaching medium, preaching and spiritual enlightenment. I'm not sure we succeed in enlightening their minds last night and while it was a different approach it's not likely one we'll return to. Regardless, the standards haven't changed and hopefully the youth understand them a little more.

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