"Rainy season had arrived again and Yaaya was happy. Even though it meant long hours working in the fields, he enjoyed the cooler weather and watching green plants spring up everywhere. It seemed like even the animals were happier now that the rains had come. Of course, it was early in the season yet, and Yaaya was already aware that many people seemed to get sick during the rains. In fact, he had been quite sick himself last summer, with awful aches and chills for the better part of a week."
--doesn't sound quite like your typical college textbook, does it? We are trying the approach of building our Biblical Health and Life Management curriculum from a continuing story. This will hopefully accomplish two things – give our writers inspiration for writing their material creatively and with focus, and help our students see that these lessons relate directly to their own everyday lives. We are NOT making those courses that students sit through thinking "Why do I have to take this? I'll never use it." Instead, we want our students to read these stories and think, "Yeah, me too--" and from there they will want to pay careful attention to the lessons that apply to these stories.
So we spent a lot of time collecting stories from the writers -- stories about the issues that are common among African young people, stories about the difficulties they face in education, family life, career pursuits, and more.
As we gathered these stories, we considered what Scripture has to say about the issues and how we will teach it in the material, which is best summarized in this beautiful quote:
I believe that no teacher should strive to make men think as he thinks, but to lead them to the living Truth, to the Master Himself, of whom alone they can learn anything, who will make them in themselves know what is true by the very seeing of it. I believe that the inspiration of the Almighty alone gives understanding. I believe that to be the disciple of Christ is the end of being; that to persuade men to be His disciples is the end of teaching.
George MacDonald, Creation in Christ
There are so many other things to share ... how good it was to be face-to-face with my colleagues, the new friends I made, how crazy our situation was when the conference first started, how wonderful the rain was, how I learned a couple things about cooking in Nigeria ... Ah, well. Blog material for later ;)