Read the article 'A concerted effort' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. Do you have or have you had a teacher, coach or mentor who met you where you were at?
2. What does it mean to respect the seasons of life? How did Alex Zivkovic do that for his music student James O’Brien?
3. Why can it be important to know the story behind a piece of music? Do you find knowing the story behind a song adds anything to it?
4. James sees Alex’s encouragement of his musical gifts as similar to the way God teaches us. Do you agree? Why or why not?
5. James writes, ‘What I first experienced with Alex, I would later seek out in all my important friendships – a connection founded in trust which could animate the spirit’. What do you look for in friendships? Why would a ‘trust which could animate the spirit’ be important to friendship?
1. Write a one-page reflection about a teacher, coach or mentor who met you where you were at. How did this impact your relationship with your teacher, coach or mentor, and with yourself? Because of their gentle approach, what did you learn about yourself and the subject, activity or project they were helping you with?
2. Listen to Pablo Casals’ work, ‘Song of the birds’. How does knowing the story behind this song impact how you listen to it? Pick a song that has a good story behind it. Then in small groups or as a class share your song and its story. If time permits, students can even bring in their chosen song to play for the class.
For younger students
Our greatest coach - Jesus. Make a poster about why you think Jesus would be the greatest coach. On the poster board write and draw all the ways Jesus would coach you and/or your team to greatness. Would Jesus focus on winning, skill, teamwork or having fun? How would Jesus encourage your team? How would he help players that weren’t as skilled? How would he help the best player on the team?
When you’re finished, share your poster with your class.