Tuesday, March 27, 2007


    An effective way to help ease youth into a challenging discussion is to give them something to look at and respond to first.

    For example, If I wanted to ask my youth "How do you see your faith life?" or "How is your relationship with God?", I would not start by asking these questions outright. If I did, it's likely I would be confronted with blank stares and mouths clamped shut. Nobody wants to be the first to speak up when tough questions are asked.
    Instead, I might prepare a page of photos or images for them to look at and meditate on first. Perhaps this page might show an image of a path winding through a forest, a cross, a maze, a shadow of a person, an image in the rear view mirror of a car, a circle of people, or a set of stairs. Then, in small groups, I would ask the youth to share which one of these images most closely connects with the way they see their faith right now. Or, I might ask which one is the furthest from their thoughts, or what image is missing that they would like me to have included. Using a conversation starter like this provides the more visually-minded students a way to focus and gives the less verbal students something on which to center their conversation. Such images also provide a common base for discussion and comparison of thoughts and ideas.

    There are many ways to extend this approach. Invite students to go through magazines and find an image that evokes their thinking, or ask them to bring an image from home. Have them trade images and see if someone else's image speaks to them, also.

    Give it a try.


    Casey "C.P." McCollum said...

    i like it - keep 'em coming