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By Alison Wheeler.

Our recent competition offering a free copy of Spiritual Care with Sick Children and Young People, by P Nash, K Darby and S Nash (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015; 220pp; £14.99;

ISBN 978 1 84905 389 1) to the best three entries offering suggestions for pastoral ministry to children and young people brought in some excellent contributions. We are grateful for the following suggestion, sent in by Alison Wheeler in Buckinghamshire.

Using another focus

For those difficult conversations with adolescents who aren't particularly comfortable talking, it’s useful to have a shared third focus. That is, rather than the focus of attention being on each other, introduce a third item that both of you can attend to. This can be as simple as a piece of paper on which you jot down shared ideas, bullet points, or draw a simple chart or diagram e.g. a family tree, or a 'this led to that...' flowchart. When you co-create something on paper you share a task; you're 'doing something together, and the young person is not being 'done to'. It also means you can both look at the paper and don't therefore have to look at each other, which for some young people can feel excruciating. The task encourages a more side-by-side arrangement of interacting also, rather than facing each other. Removing direct attention from the awkward adolescent in this way, can be quite powerful in encouraging engagement in a meaningful dialogue.


The suggestions from the other two prize-winners will be published in the summer and autumn editions of Ministry Today UK respectively.

Alison Wheeler


Ministry Today

You are reading Competition by Alison Wheeler, part of Issue 66 of Ministry Today, published in March 2016.

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