18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, November 30, 1913: Went to Sunday School this afternoon.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma went Sunday School almost every Sunday, so she obviously got something important out of attending: however, a hundred years ago church leaders sometimes worried about teens who did not attend Sunday School.
I found an interesting book published in 1913 called The Sunday School and the Teens. It is a report of the Commission on Adolescence of the International Sunday School Association.
The Commission sent a questionnaire to girls between the ages of 13 and 20 in “widely scattered sections of the country.”
Girls who answered the survey question who no longer attended Sunday School gave many reasons including:
“We had no regular teacher.” “The Sunday School lessons weren’t interesting.” “I didn’t get anything out of it.” “There were so few girls my age in Sunday school I finally left.” “My family moved and I did not enter a new school.” “Sunday is my only day and I did not want to spend the afternoon in Sunday school.” “The other girls in the class weren’t sociable and I got sick of it and left..” “ I think Sunday school is well enough for children but I don’t see anything in it for a business girl” “ I’m too tired.” “I’d rather go to church.” “I simply did not like it.”
The Sunday School and the Teens (1913)
The report concluded that the girls wanted Sunday Schools with:
1. Competent and interesting teachers.
2. Some form of class organization.
3. Some social life connected with the class.
4. Something definite to do.
5. Lessons that have to do with life.