Starting in 9th grade with PACE 1097, the English PACES all have a Wisdom Pac in the middle. Each one is about 8 pages long with 7 pages of cartoons and text and one page with questions and an application exercise of some type. The cartoons involve dialogue between the various ACE characters like Christy, Pudge, Racer, and others as well as the adults in their lives (parents, pastors, principal). The story line is written to teach a Bible principle that relates to teens and then make application to the life of one of the teens in the story. The questions at the end help the teen doing the Wisdom Pac to make personal application.
As the 4 years worth of Wisdom Pacs progress, the teens in the story are getting older and facing similar temptations and questions as the teens completing the PACES. The early Pacs help teens learn to accept themselves the way God made them and recognize their unchangeable features as being God’s fingerprint in making them unique. Other Pacs cover true happiness, loving others, trusting God, finding God’s will, and living by faith. The later ones deal with dating, what to look for in a future spouse, and handling problems Biblically.
One of my favorite series of Pacs (12th level) covers the Four Temperaments – choleric, sanguine, melancholy, and phlegmatic. While I was growing up my parents often read and taught Tim LaHaye’s “Spirit Controlled Temperament” book to young couples as part of marriage counseling. It helped me as a teen understand how God had made me different than other teens and adults. In more recent years Gary Smalley has reworked the model as animals: lion, golden retriever, otter, and beaver. I realize these are over-generalizations of human nature and shouldn’t be taken too seriously or on the same level as Bible doctrine, but I do think it is a valuable tool for helping teens understand human relationships and themselves.
Another favorite series of Pacs teaches how to Personalize Scripture. Students are guided through writing out verses from Proverbs and Romans and other key passages and inserting their own names and personal pronouns. That can be a very powerful tool for energizing one’s devotions and making application to everyday life. Personalizing Scripture can become an integral part of a young person’s life for years to come.
Don’t skip the Wisdom PACs — there are always a couple of questions on the PACE test from them!
One mom wrote me to share her opinion that the Wisdom Pacs are old-fashioned, outdated and childish, as she put it. “I think that if we want our youth to think, reason and make wise and mature choices in life we should be treating them more like young adults and less like children. They have the capacity to think critically about contentious issues if given the opportunity without having things simplified and made into childish cartoons featuring characters with often laughable names that prevent students relating to the content on a personal level.”
Another mom gave this perspective about the Wisdom Pacs: “My kids, who will graduate this year, have enjoyed watching the characters in the cartoons and Wisdom Inserts grow up with them from first grade through now twelfth grade. And my kids have never complained about the cartoons in earlier paces being “corny” or “old fashioned”. They understand the good and Godly intentions behind the cartoons. I have always been very interested in the cartoons in my children’s paces and what was happening in the lives of the characters in the cartoons and now the Wisdom Packets in their HS English paces. And so have my kids.”
Sometimes the cartoon characters may seem a little goofy or their dialogue rather contrived. And you may not agree with every application the Pacs make. But if you keep an open spirit and use the Wisdom Pacs to capitalize on teachable moments, I dare say you will have some great conversations with your teen about some really timely topics!
In my opinion, the Wisdom Pacs and their Godly content are one of my favorite “selling points” of using the PACES with teens!