The Best Question I've Asked a Young Person Recently

Kara Powell | Sep 11, 2012

I’ve always believed there’s great power in good questions. I saw that last weekend with my own kids.

Last weekend, we had more discretionary free time than usual. My husband decided to build a treehouse for our kids (I know, I know, it feels like a flashback to the 50s). While he was in our backyard with the kids doing that, I told the kids they could each pick one fun thing to do with me alone, and that we’d go out for a treat afterward.

Nathan chose tennis. Krista chose ice skating. Jessica went with a scavenger hunt (an unconventional choice, but the youth worker in me has introduced scavenger hunts to our family over the years).

My favorite part of getting treats with the kids - especially when I have just one of them - is the conversation we get to have. Thanks to some questions I received from one of the churches in our Sticky Faith Cohort last year, I had a whole list of questions that parents could ask kids.

I asked Nathan a question I’ve never asked him before: What do you think young people your age tend to lie about to their parents?

Nathan hardly hesitated, “I think they say that things are fine at school when there are actually problems.”

I was surprised so I asked him if he had done that with us. He shared one struggle he was having with another friend - a struggle that I knew was occurring but I hadn’t realized how much it bothered him. We talked how he was feeling about it, options he had with this other student, and what he might do now that he’s back in school.

Whether you’re a parent or a leader, you might want to try asking the same question. Be prepared to be surprised. I know I was.

What other questions have helped you go deeper in conversation and relationship with young people? Let’s learn from each other.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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