“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” Francis Bacon
My husband, Karl, a reference librarian, sometimes brings me home quotes he has come across in his work. This week he gave me this Francis Bacon quote. In church leadership and in pastoral care, sometimes questions are more important than answers. Our need to have the answers sometimes comes out of our own anxiety — we can feel like we are there to solve problems, to help people and to fix things. Asking thoughtful questions can help others find their own resources. It can be tempting to make the questions leading ones: “Don’t you think you should….?” But it’s more helpful to ask open-ended questions, the kind that cause people to pause and stare into the distance and truly reflect on their life, or on the life of the church. I notice when someone asks me a good question, I calm down and can think more clearly.
What’s the proportion of questions to answers in your conversations with folks?