By Monday night, my voice was gone, and I was well on my way to being sick with what our little houseguest had when he was here. Tuesday morning, DH had his third (and hopefully final) hernia surgery. He's doing really well, a lot better than he has after the two previous ones, and the last few days has even come to the dinner table and played Munchkin afterwards. Unfortunately, today he was feeling a little too good, and overdid it, so he's back in bed at the moment. Still, it's progress.
However, my voice came back on Thursday enough for me to teach class at the church. I, in a fit of 'I can do anything'-ness, agreed a couple of months ago to work with the youth group during what our church calls TNT - Thursday Nights Together, which is a program during Lent when dinner is provided by the church (and prepared by adult Sunday school classes), and then there are various things to do together afterwards. Kids go to their choir and then do activities, like this past week they made birdhouses, and adults pick a class to go to, as well, like this year some of the offerings are on personal finance, yoga, scrapbooking, etc. This is the first year that there's been something for the teenagers, and it centers around relationships and challenges- family, dating, struggles, etc.
I got the materials quite awhile ago, and read over them a little at the time, but really, I was busy, so I waited until the week before to really prepare, watching the dvd segments. There have been two classes now; the first was on 'home hurts' (abuse, neglect, parents with drug addictions, and one story from a girl who had been molested by her dad), and this past week was on sex and dating. I was a little nervous going into it, but the youth group is largely older teenagers, and I was OK with talking about those issues with them. I think I'm pretty good at that kind of thing.
Guess who has showed up?
Two high school girls, and six middle school boys, plus one other middle school girl this week.
You got it - I had to try to discuss SEX and DATING with middle school boys. Two of them in particular were DYING of embarrassment, and were acting up so badly out of their horror that I almost had to
The material was WAY over those boys' heads, and frankly wasn't something I would allow Josie to participate in next year. I hadn't realized that the younger kids would be there as well when I agreed to take on the class, because if I had I would have spoken up sooner about how inappropriate I feel the material and forum are for anyone not in high school. I think it's important for younger kids to talk about these things too, so they have some ideas of what's coming and how to deal with pushy or violent dating partners, problems at home, etc, but they're not at the same place high school kids are, and expecting them to react to the material in the same way that the high school kids do is unrealistic. The older kids, for their part, are stuck in the situation of talking about things that maybe they don't want to discuss in front of younger kids, and I'm in the position of having to share things about myself and my own experiences (in order to illustrate choices and create a bond with the kids) that I probably wouldn't share with kids that are so young otherwise. It is a pretty impossible situation.
DH said that I should ask the youth director to come into the room with me, but that felt like a cop out UNTIL I emailed her to explain what has been going on, and ask how she deals with keeping the whole group on track when she's with them, etc. She wrote back and said that she didn't know, that SHE'S NEVER BEEN ALONE WITH THEM HERSELF. She's always got a parent Sunday School teacher with her. Also, she wasn't planning on having mostly younger kids there when she picked the material, AND she didn't send home any info on what it is I'm talking about with them! SO, I'm talking about dating and sex with kids who are really too young, and whose parents have no idea about it. I am WAY uncomfortable with that. You'd better believe that if someone was talking about this stuff with Josie and I didn't know it beforehand, I'd be PISSED. She should have planned this a lot better than she did.
I don't know what's going to happen this week. I'm not quitting, because a) I don't walk away from a challenge - I was even competitive with myself about LABOR, and b) I don't want to give the kids the message that I don't like them, because I know that's exactly what they'll think. The older girls in particular seem to really like me, and I think that's really cool. Hell, it took me an extra twenty years, but finally, I'm popular with the high schoolers! And I'm not walking out on my popularity.