1) How are your relationships looking this year so far?
These questions can touch on so many important parts of your student’s life. What drives behavior more than anything in a young adult’s life is their relationships. Whether they are single or not. A fish can never outgrow its fish tank. Either can we. These questions should be asked every year. Show me your students friends and I will show you their future. These are great conversation questions that I rarely ever hear anyone ask. However, if we REALLY want to get to know how our students/young adults are doing these questions must be asked. They are direct and get right to the point.
Great questions to ask your student:
Who are your top 2-3 closest friends?
Do you feel great around those friends?
Do you hang out with them because of the convenience or because you genuinely love being with them?
Are they bringing you towards who you want to be or away?
Does their character, goals, future line up with yours?
How do you plan on interacting with them this fall?
If in a relationship:
Is this relationship healthy for you going into the school year?
If more serious: Do you see yourself in any way marrying this person? (The point of dating is to figure out if they want to marry them remember? Otherwise, it’s a waste of time)
Do they adore you or see you as more of an obligation?
How do they treat you when things aren’t going their way? Is that healthy for you?
2) Do you feel like what you are doing this fall really matters?
We all want purpose in our life. Nobody starts something because they don’t want to finish it. They don’t finish because they lose hope and don’t think its worth the effort to finish. It isn’t worth the struggle to them. This is why this question matters.
I want to make this clear: Struggles don’t stop us. The purpose or reason just isn’t big enough for us to push past them. When there is no light at the end of the tunnel: when there is no hope we let struggle stop us in our tracks. This is normal.
We need to feel what we are doing in our life matters. That it aligns with who we are and what we were created to do. That our gifts are being used for that specific purpose. Otherwise, we eventually burn out. In other words, we need to know that it matters in the end.
So does your student feel like it matters this fall? Let’s not shy away from hard conversations otherwise the conversations will just get harder down the road. What starts off as a small leak will eventually turn into something more damaging if ignored.
3) Do you feel supported, appreciated and loved by me?
This is a tough one to ask. Deep relationships and answers come from deep questions.
People go where they feel accepted and appreciated. Whether its good for them or not.
Why do good kids join a not so good group of friends? Because they are accepted by them and not anywhere else.
Often, we feel like our superiors (Parents, Teachers, Bosses etc..) only love us if we fit in their box. If we meet their criteria or standard of living. Generally speaking, we usually hang out with people who share our same opinion or circumstances. Misery loves its company and the opposite is true. Positive people love being around other positive people.
The point here is that are you creating an environment where your young adult genuinely feels accepted and loved around you? Do they don’t feel the need to change who they are in order to feel totally loved and fully known by you?
Please do not ignore this question because you’re afraid of the response you might get. This might be hard because this sets us up to be critiqued or maybe even called out on some things. PLEASE DON’T GET OFFENSIVE IF THIS HAPPENS! If we do they will not share their true feelings with us anymore. Try to see things from their perspective and just listen. When was the last time someone just listened to you without trying to fix you or offer insight? For most of us, we can’t remember. But it would be great, wouldn’t it?
These three questions to get the soul of how your student/young adult is really doing heading into this fall. These questions force us to be real with the current situation. And they can create a better relationship if we are coming from a heart of love, respect, and truth. Not a heart of fixing, blaming and manipulating.