I’m still learning the middle school dialect

K-pop band BTS

One of the side benefits of teaching confirmation class to seventh and eighth graders each year is that it exposes me to some elements of pop culture that I would never have noticed on my own.

One of my students turned in a sermon report from Epiphany Sunday with a comment at the bottom, “‘Epiphany’ is the name of a really good BTS song!” And just like that, I took a step into the world of K-pop, or Korean pop music, which to me looks like a reincarnation of 1990s boy bands like Back Street Boys and N Sync. Maybe it’s more accurate to call the genre an extrapolation of that musical era. The groups have more members, some are female, and incorporates hip-hop, electronica, and rock along with creative choreography.

I asked this student, “If I needed to cram for a test on K-pop, what videos would I want to watch?” She sent me a long list of YouTube videos to check out, but would only just scratch the surface. We’ll see how it goes as I begin to do a little research.

There is no Rosetta Stone for learning the middle school dialect. Besides, it changes from year to year. Three years ago I had a student who pretty much spoke in quotes from “The Big Bang Theory.” Bazinga! Others of my current students speak in memes, which they spend more time studying than their academics or the catechism. Some live in video game world. Others only understand metaphors from sports they’re involved in, from golf to football to martial arts. It’s always fun to discover how God’s Word speaks to all those “worlds” in which we live.