I miss this part of school. What is the adult version of show and tell? At this point, I have no idea, but the word 'and' seems important to me. Since this is a blog and since the internet is loaded with people sounding off, we currently have no shortage of 'tell'.
In fact, that's part of my concern. I have read in recent weeks some articles and blogs from Christians about Christians and the tone is, well, unloving at best, hateful at worst. For many readers, this will be nothing new, but the language tells me something about the 'show' part. The other day, my daughter caught me singing one of my new favorite songs and burst out laughing.
"Daddy what are you doing?"
"Singing this cool song," I replied.
And then, the fun part came that was a bit unexpected. My daughter wanted to join in and learn the song. So, my little fantasy rock and roll stint turned into an impromptu show and tell. We danced around the room belting out the chorus (I only taught her the chorus as it was easier than the entire song) and something interesting happened. I actually learned more of the song by trying to teach her the song. Now, this isn't a new idea or brain surgery and some would remind me of how elementary such an idea is (to which I say, duh, my daughter's in elementary school), but the thought remains the same for anyone claiming to be a Christian in an interconnected and globalizing world. It is often only when you try to teach another person that you find out what you truly understand or truly know.
In some small way, maybe that's one of the great benefits of the information age; we now know, in part, that we don't know much. But, as we process life together, as we attempt to teach new ideas, we'll be the better for it. A life changing moment for me in my own Christian walk came in the early 90's when I was teaching in China, the summer before my senior year in college. A devout Buddhist student sat down with me one afternoon and asked me to explain the Christian faith. I told him I would do so on one condition: he would explain the Buddhist faith to me. So, for several hours we talked about Jesus, Buddha, and life. We walked in and out of Buddhist temples nearby and looked at Bible passages together. In short, we played 'show and tell' and I remember that day very well. Let this simply be an encouragement to return to something many schools have dropped and many schools of thought are missing: let's show AND tell.
By the way, in case you'd like to join in on the little exercise with my daughter, here's the music video to the song we sang. Be sure to twirl around when you sing 'that planet earth moves slowly'.... we even found that twirling around in slow motion with our arms stretched out worked really well....