Monday, February 9, 2009

Finding Personal Answers vs. Memorizing Canned Responses

My experience has taught me that any differences in issues that face different generations only become divisive issues among the generations when the older generation stereotypes the younger generation and/or refuses to see the issues of the younger generation as legitimate - and, in practical terms, exactly like those they faced as youth and young adults (just as real and difficult and emotional). (e.g., when they say, “There’s no good music nowadays,” instead of listening to their children and accepting that their children's music is just as good as what they liked in their youth.)

With that as the foundation, I believe that each and every one of us faces the exact same challenge with regard to spiritual progression - building and maintaining our understanding and testimony of the Restoration and the foundation concepts of the Gospel in the face of opposition from “the world”. If apologetics helps people (youth or adults) understand those foundation concepts and provides them with resources and tools and a sounding board and assurance and the ability to say “I don’t know yet; I will find out” and a broader vision to realize that very intelligent people have addressed their issues without losing faith (in short, if it provides a framework within which the rising generation can find and craft their own answers) - then it works; if not (if it merely gives them some canned responses to parrot back when confronted with certain topics), then I believe it fails - since there always will be more topics than possibly can be included in a repertoire of canned responses.

In other words, if one generation simply says, "Here are the answers that worked for us (me); memorize them," the new generation will end up lost when they are faced with really understanding issues for themselves - even if the questions essentially are the same as the previous generation faced. In dealing with issues current to their own time, the new generation will fail miserably. Their issues are every bit as valid as their parents' issues, and they need to be able to find their own answers - just as they need to find their own music, artistic tastes, relationships and overall lives.

We need to help them learn to remember, read, ponder and pray - not simply memorize.


Anonymous said...

yes, and i think the scriptures were written in such a way that they have applied and will continue to apply to the human condition in any age.

but our music really is better. ;-D

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this concept. I have two young children, and am trying to teach them the gospel.

They are absolutely genuine, but, at times, it seems like they just answer "Jesus." (or some other "canned response") when I ask any question. (eg. Why should we be baptized? - "Jesus!").

It takes time and work to get them to think. Above all, I think it takes humility on my part - as in - remembering it is the Spirit is the teacher - not me.

And I feel a good way to measure this is if I'm being taught as I teach. When the Spirit teaches, both student and teacher are edified.

Anyways. thanks for the post.

Papa D said...

Ellen, yeah, our music is better - for us. *grin*

chocotania, you said, "I think it takes humility on my part - as in - remembering it is the Spirit is the teacher - not me."

I think that is the key - on two fronts: 1) realizing that we can teach through the Spirit; 2) helping them be able to have the Spirit to be with them always, so they can learn from God on their own.

Stephen said...

I remmeber teaching a class of kids who kept giving me the canned answers, which were not appropriate to the questions I was asking.

It was an interesting group to teach, though they finally realized I was actually teaching them things they didn't know.

Tasha said...

thanks for the food for thought. do i really have to like the kids "music" :o)