A few weeks ago in Y-Search [6 & 7 grade sunday school] — we were having a discussion about good deeds and doing nice things for other people. It turned into a very interesting conversation as one of the student’s posed the question, “If someone does something really good, but does it for the wrong reasons … is it still a good deed?” Interesting questions — as I posed it to the other students — there were some difference in opinion, but mostly on the same page.
The conversation took an interesting turn with another student’s comment on a related topic — and there was some disagreement between a few of the students. While I thought this was a good opportunity to have some healthy debate [read discussion at this age level] — it didn’t take long for it to become more animated than necessary.
My question, then, is this: how do we foster healthy debating and discussion among our young people? I think it extremely important that our kids know how to stand up for their own opinions, while still respecting the opinions of the other side. This not only encourages them to grow and stretch in their own beliefs, but allows room for empathy as they attempt to see the other person’s point of view.
Our youth need to know that it is more than just okay to ask questions, especially hard ones — but more than that, they need to understand that these questions should never be at the expense of someone else’s opinions, feelings, and experiences.
How do we make sure, as leaders, to mediate the balance of beliefs among our youth?