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Answer simply and briefly

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Most of us talk too much when we answer a question. It is our natural reaction to share all the information we have on a subject before finding out what the student already knows or how anxious he or she is to know it. In order to answer briefly, you should first ensure you understand what’s really being asked, and the urgency with which the question is being asked. This will require you to slow down and gather more information before you respond.

Consider the first time a child asked you “Where do babies come from?” The answer you gave was dictated by how long the child had been wondering about the question, the maturity of the child, and the “real” question. If the question just occurred to the child while watching a television show that showed a new baby, your response was different than if the child had been pondering the origins of man for a while. The same applies to Seminary. When you’re asked a question, you might say, “That’s a really thoughtful question. Have you been thinking about that for a while?” or “That’s a complicated question. I love it! Please explain to me what you’re thinking is so I give you my best answer.”

Please take the time to drill down and collect the information you need to answer questions briefly and simply. Showing students you want to first understand them and then answer will build trust and show you love them. Complicated answers confuse students and may try faith. Simple answers help students understand your response and usually build faith.

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