Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Singing: Sometimes I Really Miss Middle School

This morning I led singing at our local Christian school, the one where I served on the faculty for eleven years before moving to my current position. I have many friends there, and the students--the older ones, at least--still know me by name. ("Hi Mr. Mulder! Are you here to sing with our class today??") I have to admit, that feels pretty good.

So as I met up with a class of middle schoolers, I picked out some of my favorites. Some newer songs, some oldies-but-goodies from when I began teaching almost 20 years ago. I included this one, which was always a hit with the middle school crowd:

"Spring up, O well, within my soul!" (Splish, splash!)
The kids sang with gusto. So did I.

When we wrapped up after 30 minutes, they were begging for a few more favorites. I took that to be a good sign. What a blessing to lead young people in worship--and for them to want more!

I love to sing, and music has always had an important role in my life. For those who say junior high boys just won't sing...I have much evidence to the contrary, both from my own experience as a middle schooler and from the years I spent teaching young adolescents. I'm convinced that your approach, and the songs you choose, and your willingness to build a relationship with the kids make all the difference. Evidence today: the kids sang.

It's been three school years now since I taught at that school, and it's still a little weird for me when I'm there. I thought it would be better by now. But I suppose that when you pour out your heart and soul for over a decade into a place that you care deeply about, it's bound to leave a mark.

I love what I do now, teaching future teachers. But sometimes, I really miss meeting up with middle schoolers on a day-to-day basis. I miss the chance to teach them, heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And today, with the singing...I'm missing middle school.

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