With the Master’s authority to let the children come, and with every condition in child life God prepared for their coming, there is no tenable position but belief that our Father meant every life to enter its period of “storm and stress,” in step with Jesus Christ.
Sunday School work during Adolescence and maturity lays less emphasis upon methods and equipment than in the earlier periods, and more emphasis on the personal relation between teacher and pupil. For this reason the preceding study, in so far as it interprets the lives of the boys and girls, applies directly to Sunday School work, for a sympathetic understanding is the key to the relationship. “There is no greater blessing that can come to a boy (or girl) at this age when he does not understand himself, than a good, strong teacher who understands him, has faith in him, and will day by day lead him till he can walk alone.” Far more than a pedagogue, the adolescent needs a friend in his Sunday School teacher, who shares his ambitions, knows his temptations, sympathizes with his successes and failures and, through it all, trusts him. This understanding and confidence, made long-suffering and tender by the love that never fails, will be a binding cord that can not be broken even by the most restless, wayward life.
Because of the close relationship to be sought between teacher and pupil, other things being equal, it is wise for a class of boys to be taught by a man, and girls by a woman. The counsel of one who has passed through the same experiences and known the same temptations and difficulties always comes with especial helpfulness. But the question of sex is not as vital as that of sympathy, nor the manner of previous experience as the manner of present love.
The new consciousness of distinction will make the class work difficult, if there is any marked difference in the social standing of its members. The leader must be won to the right attitude in private, the appeal being based on personal feeling for the teacher and on the new ideals of relationship to others, which are beginning to take form.
An organization of the class in this and succeeding periods is necessary for the best work. It should place definite responsibilities upon each member, either as officer or committee-man, for habits of Christian service must be solicitously nurtured during these days.
Frequent social gatherings are very important. This is the age when the young people begin to think that, “a Christian can not have any fun,” and it rests with the church and Sunday School to prove to them the contrary. The only convincing proof is in experiencing the fact itself that the best times have a religious association, therefore a class party should be as carefully and as prayerfully planned as a Sunday School lesson.
As these years are included in the Golden Memory-period, supplemental work of more advanced type should be continued. Note books are helpful in amplifying and impressing the lesson, and brief essays upon pertinent topics add interest.