A student came to ask me if he can miss a week of classes because he is going to the beach. But not to have fun (which I would have totally understood and encouraged even in this very weak student). Rather, he is going to "approach people on the beach to talk to them about God." Of course, I let him go and allowed him to write a midterm we will have that week after he comes back from his missionary activities. Far be it from me to prevent students from doing whatever it is they feel they need to do at any given moment in their lives.
Still, I had to wonder, what makes young, energetic, fairly intelligent people want to participate in this kind of activity? Why would they go to the beach not to swim, play, flirt, sunbathe, dance, and drink, but to bother people with religious conversations? I'm going for my spring break to the same area where this student will be proselytizing and I cannot imagine how annoying it will be to be approached by somebody who wants to discuss God in such an inappropriate setting. What is it that these young missionaries are getting from bothering unsuspecting sunbathers and making themselves look ridiculous?
I hope nobody tries to convert me to any religion while I'm on the beach. I think I'll take my Star of David with me to protect myself from unwanted proselytization efforts.