I was there for an appointment, skimming through an unrelatable fashion magazine – the kind they always pile on the end tables in waiting rooms. But most of my attention was on a conversation between two ladies sitting next to me. They were obviously friends and the first lady was engaged in a monologue about whether or not she should quit her job and go into a different profession. She was quite animated and had a lot to say about the pros and cons of her decision.
The conversation wasn’t all that interesting, except that she sprinkled her run-on sentences with the question: Do you know what I mean? She said it so often it got rather funny.
Being that I was just sitting there looking at crazy, who-would-ever-wear-those styles, I decided to count the repetitions.
Twelve times in four minutes.
At first I kind of smiled about it.
But then I had another thought.
How often do we ask that question of kids? How often do we stop our teaching/explaining to simply say: Do you know what I mean?
Because as parents and teachers we KNOW what we want to say. When we’re talking about the Bible, we KNOW the facts. We can quote the verses, share the gospel and even relate the account of the Red Sea or Jericho without much preparation or thought. And how about when we plan an interactive activity or use an object lesson? Do the kids know why we’re doing what we’re doing or do they see it only as entertainment? How often do we stop and look at a child and ask, “Do you know what I mean?”
I’m guessing, I’m sure there are times they have absolutely no idea.
Most of them will not tell us that they don’t understand … unless we ask them.
We can do that by:
- Directly inquiring if they know.
- Giving a fun quiz or playing a game that checks their knowledge.
- Asking them to repeat back to us what we just taught
How we do it isn’t important. What is important is that we’re making sure they do KNOW what we mean. Because really if they aren’t understanding, they’re not getting much out of the lesson.
The second funny thing about the overheard conversation is that the lady didn’t once stop and give her friend an opportunity to answer the question. Nope. she didn’t even hesitate.
Once we ask a child Do you know what I mean?, we need to listen to what they answer and then reexplain ourselves until they DO KNOW.
God’s Word talks about the importance of understanding over and over again. For instance, just in the first several chapters of Proverbs, we see many verses about understanding: Proverbs 2:13; 5:1; 10:23; 15:21; 16:16.
We need to consistently remember to pause in our teaching and make sure our kids are comprehending what we’re teaching. We need to ask: Do you know what I mean?
Just not twelve times in four minutes.