Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray.
Albert Einstein, brilliant physicist and astrophysicist is famous for saying, "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." This is a man who as great a command of science and the universe as anyone who has ever walked the Earth. Science Communicator is a relatively new job in human history, and it wasn't even a term when folks like Einstein and Carl Sagan were in their prime. But now we've all heard of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and new folks like Emily Calandrelli of Emily's Wonder Lab are appearing. They often quote Einstein's theory. They're people who understand that to teach children and non-experts is to be an expert, and one cannot claim to be an expert if they cannot teach children and non-experts.
So what does this mean for us believers? Can we claim the name of Christ follower if we don't take time to explain and teach our faith to children and non-experts? Does the Great Commission demand that we try? Can pastors and educators take pride in their learning, if we do not bring the same enthusiasm and humility and accessibility to the faith as Nye or Tyson or Calandrelli? One of the benefits of this quarantine has been for many of us parents to watch the dedicated teachers of our students teach them here in our homes through distance learning, seeing their energy and enthusiasm, and yes, their love, for the students and the material. It's a reminder that I would require much more training to do the job they do so well each day. And it's also a reminder that their expert instruction does not become cemented, contextualized, or made important without the time we take as parents to review it, test it, study it, and discuss it. Why do I still remember many of these middle school lessons and concepts? Where have I used them occasionally or daily? Why are they vital?
That's when I think about worship on Sunday, youth group, and our many Bible Studies. When we leave those moments, have we digested the material? Do we seek deeper understanding? And most importantly... have we looked for young people and non-experts to teach and engage? When your student comes home from VBS or youth group or Bible Study, do you take the time to unpack the lesson and review? Do you share stories of how you've struggled with, failed, or triumphed in that area of life and faith? What about after the Sunday sermon? What about with your peers after small groups and studies? Do you share those lessons excitedly with your friends and family who have left church behind during the pandemic or never been before? You don't need a flashy bow-tie or vest or a Wonder Lab to share your story of faith and grace (although I certainly approve of all of the above). Great communicators look for common ground, a shared language, and establish a relationship through love and sincerity. We can all do that. And if you need practice, Allison and I would be happy to connect you with young people and non-experts. They will love having your time and attention.