1. What do you value? This is the grassroots foundational big bertha type of question. What I've discovered is that there are often times when I'm simply not on the same page with my kids or those in my sphere of ministry care because there is a difference in what we value. Parents who ask me to "fix their kid" are often looking for an immediate change in behaviour, where I may be approaching the situation from a longer-term heart driven and character formation type of initiative. It is absolutely critical that there is clarity when it comes to this question of value. The answer to this question will help you know how to lead, even if that means stepping away from the situation because of a different in values.
2. What do you need? This is a further clarification question for values. Sometimes parents are looking for additional support in the discipleship process of their kids. Other times, kids might be looking for an opportunity to be heart, supported, loved and cared for. The ability to ask and to answer this question will help move the teaching moment towards a preferred outcome that will be mutually beneficial. Additionally, this is an essential question every leader must ask themselves from the organization and community they are invested in. If what you need personally differs from what is able to be provided, it may be a sign that the long-term fit between leader and community/organization just isn't there...and that's ok!
3. What do you expect? No one enjoys being measured against non-verbalized expectations. Have the courage to ask the question and to give the answer so that the teaching moment will have both depth and meaning. If a parent is expecting you to fix the behaviour of their child in a 20 minute conversation you need to know. You need to know so you can share that this expectation isn't realistic. Conversely, you can then help them to craft an appropriate level of expectation by pointing them towards the broader, longer-term vision of lifelong discipleship.
These are three questions that I'm finding very valuable for me as a parent, a leader, a friend and a husband. What do you think of these questions? Do you have others you would add to this list?