The Art of Asking Good Questions

Deep within the heart of every person is the desire to be known, wanted, and loved; it s how God wired us. Sin skews these hopes, but the root of each is still present in all hearts. As mentors, the task to get to know a child and demonstrate that love to them can seem impossible at times and daunting at others. It indeed takes much work and investment to truly know someone and love them!

Something I ve found personally helpful in getting to know and love people, as I ve examined the Bible and how God/Jesus interacted with people, is the art of asking really awesome questions! Often a great question is able to accomplish meeting the need of a child to be known, wanted, and loved. It takes preparation, practice, and much patience.

I think one of the most vital ways a question can be used with a child is modeled by God often throughout the Bible. God already knew what d happened, but He, in great love and grace, offered a chance for repentance and reconciliation to His children (ie: Adam/Eve in the Garden, Cain after he killed his brother, Job, Jonah, etc). I often find myself doing this with our students. Being in contact with parents, mentors, and teachers, I often know what s happened from all sides before I even talk with the student. But coming in with accusation and condemnation shuts a child down quickly! Asking good questions, that I ve prepared beforehand, is often my most valuable tool to know and love that child well in any given situation.

Another type of question seen modeled in the Word are the numerous questions Jesus asks that in an instant delve straight to someone s heart. Since we are not being the Son of God it can make this type of inquiring seem unobtainable, but I promise it s not impossible for us mortals! It takes discernment, consistent involvement with our proteges, prayer, and being led by the Holy Spirit, and. This type of questioning requires you to be willing to surrender your desire to see results, because these sorts of questions normally reach their goal in the still, quiet moments of the heart. It takes a humble realization on our part that we are but a tool in God s hand, not the savior or molder of their hearts or lives.

Here are a few practical tips on becoming better in this area: Ask expanding or open-ended questions.

-If the second word in the question is you it s probably a closed question (Do you like..? or Have you been..? ).

-Who, what, when, where, why, and how are conversation expanders (What are your favorite..? or Who is your role model? ).

-Ask about: ideas, feelings, thoughts, challenges, frustrations, concerns, dreams, goals, achievements, inspirations, etc.

With a little time all this will become natural and hopefully open doors into knowing and loving your protege well.

-Christina Hickman, Relationship Coordinator

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