To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to my One To One session at the Apple Store today. I was going for help with a topic that I don’t often get stumped on, and consequently I doubted that the trainer would have adequate knowledge to address my rather unique problem. I felt bad for her. She tried, but she just couldn’t get me to a point that I couldn’t have gotten to on my own. I felt like maybe I could have asked her things I already knew the answer to, just to make her feel like her time wasn’t wasted.
She did her job, and I don’t blame her. I have been in that uncomfortable place before as a youth leader as well as a teacher. Granted, it doesn’t happen as often now that I specialize in 6th grade, but I know my friends who work with 8th graders and high school students cherish those times when conversation turns to deep topics. When that happens, the leader must become a fellow learner.
It can be a matter of pride for someone like me. I don’t like admitting I have no idea of the right answer, even the right question. But a situation where I experience the discomfort of inadequate knowledge is precisely the time to model what to do when you really don’t know. There are times when I use old teacher cop-out of “let’s look that up…” whether I know or not. Not what I’m talking about.
In the quest to not only help kids learn the truth, but also to learn how to apply truth in an integral way, I can’t be a constant dispensary of facts. I can be a guide, but I must also be a fellow traveler. It’s not even about asking the right questions. It’s about asking questions, period, and then letting growth happen.