By Ali Thompson
One of the things I love about Be Bold is the discussion questions. They’re open-ended questions that really exercise the Bold Value “your thoughts and struggles are welcome.” It might be easier to ask questions with a specific right answer in mind, and then hint around until a preteen comes up with the answer. But there’s so much value in asking open-ended questions. Here are some I found in just one lesson on the topic: What Do Angels Do…And Are They Still Doing It?
You Get to See Preteens’ Hearts
One of the things we learned angels do is encourage people. Then preteens drew an angel encouraging Gideon with the words “mighty hero.” And we asked them to write words they’d find encouraging to hear from an angel.
One boy spoke up, “I’d like to hear that I’m a nice person. That I’m not mean.” In previous discussions, this boy has shared that he’s dealt with some bullying at school, so with that background you could see why being nice was so valuable to him. He didn’t want to be like the bullies. He’d be encouraged if an angel spoke into his character and affirmed that he’s the kind of person he wants to be.
I loved that glimpse into his heart. And I would’ve missed out on it if I’d only asked a question like, “What did the angel say to encourage Gideon?” BE BOLD is packed with insightful questions like this that help you see what’s going on in kids’ hearts.
You Uncover More Questions
Another question, when we learned that angels announce God’s message, was “what message would like to hear from an angel?” One boy shared, “I’d want an angel to tell me what God looks like. Like, we don’t even know if he’s a boy or a girl.”
BE BOLD is all about tackling the tough faith questions, and although there’s a set lesson plan with which questions to address, it’s always good to know what other questions are bubbling up under the surface. By asking open-ended questions, sometimes you might seem to go on “rabbit trails.” But rabbit trails that take kids to a deeper place of faith are always worthwhile!
You Exercise Their Critical Thinking
If you only ever ask questions with a right answer in mind, you might challenge kids’ reading comprehension skills. They’ll have to look back at the passage and see how to fill in the blank of your question. And that’s not a bad thing from time to time; it shows they understood what they read.
But that’s not enough to bring them deeper in their faith. Preteens need the opportunity to really think about what a passage means for them, how they’ve personally experienced it, or what it would look like lived out in their life. They’ve just gotten to an age where they can start to think more logically…so let them try out their new skills! You’re growing kids into a thinking faith, where they can defend their views with Scripture. What a valuable skill!
I love teaching BE BOLD because it’s packed with open-ended questions that accomplish these three things every week! It’s great getting to know my kids a little bit more deeply every week.