One of the new classes I’m teaching this year is called “Religious Studies,” and it’s just the sort of class that brings me joy. The premise is simply (or not so simply) to prepare students for future challenges to their faith.
As such, a few weeks ago I asked my students to write a short paper describing what they believed and why they believed it. In a small, tight-knit community full of missionary kids, I expected a great deal of repetition. But I was wrong.
Here’s just a sampling of what they wrote:
“I had a dream last year where I saw heaven above me – I couldn’t see how it looked because of the light being reflected, but the presence of God and the heavenly being was indescribable. I didn’t want to wake up, but my baby brother sneaked in my room and slapped me.”
“Through advances in science and human behavior, I cannot prove but I am very sure that an eternal being, God, made the heavens and the earth.”
“I am content with not knowing all the answers now.”
“I believe because He has revealed Himself to me from the time of my birth, and delivered me from abuse and depression.”
Much talk has been heard about the commonalities of “missionary children”: a lack of cultural belonging, a confusion about what place to call “home,” a strong distaste for surface-level relationships, and the like. There is certainly a degree of truth to these generalities, but what stands out to me i n a class of 24 seniors is their differences – their individuality.
After all, students are people. And like people, no matter how many Myers-Briggs personality tests you run them through, they will not be so easily categorized.