As a youth worker I quickly learned that mastering the art of conversation with young people is a top priority. Children can babble on but as they reach puberty and become teens conversation with adults becomes more awkward.
Alas! If you are like me, you realize that many young people are not familiar with the art of having a good conversation. You need to ask them a lot of questions before they ask you one. You have probably had a conversation like this:
“How are you?”
“Fine.” Followed by an uncomfortable silence.
Youth workers know that teens will talk about themselves, their needs, and their interests. Part of the joy of working with youth is discovering the topics they want to discuss. This builds a relational bridge. It creates trust and then, when those magic moments come, conversation gets deep and meaningful.
Here are some questions to ask your grandchildren after, “How are you?”
- What did you have for lunch?
- What made you smile today?
- Was anyone mean to you? Did you forgive them?
- Did you do anything kind for anyone today?
- What will you give thanks to God for at bedtime tonight?
- Why does grandma ask you so many questions?
- Do you have any questions you want to ask me?
Getting to know your grandchildren better is one result of asking good follow-up questions. The last question – “Do you have any questions you want to ask me?” – is perfect for helping them learn to master the “give and take” of conversation skills. Once they learn to do that, be prepared for deeper and more meaningful questions to come your way.
A strategic grandparent is a youth worker!
1) Brainstorm ten more great questions for seven- to seventeen-year-olds.
2) Is one of your grandchildren particularly hard to hold a conversation with?
1) Pray for a breakthrough conversation with the grandchild identified above.
2) Identify a key moment in your faith journey that you could share with a grandchild in five minutes.
Like a youth worker, a strategic grandparent thinks ahead about conversing with youth.
Pili Galvan is the Director of Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club
Copyright © 2018 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.