J-Group often starts with a fun activity, flows into some food, and then the J-Men and men settle in to a circle to talk about what is going on in their lives. If you happen to be working with young males and have occasion to invite them into a similar circle, you may have discovered as we did, that it can be a challenge to get them calmed down and focused up. One way to do that is to start the meeting with a check-in question.
Check-in questions invite everyone to participate, and increase both familiarity and acceptance of one another. Below are a few sample opening questions. Some of them are simply conversation starters and others invite some degree of personal disclosure. The more personal truth the questions requests, the more the guys are invited to be vulnerable and open in their responses. This has the benefit of increasing intimacy and trust in the group while setting the tone for a good meeting.
- Describe your favorite (or most hated) food and when you remember first eating it.
- After one minute of total quiet, describe what went on in your head.
- Name a little thing someone does that really bothers you.
- Tell us something you really like (don't like) about this group.
- Describe a time when someone betrayed your trust.
- Describe a time when you were put down and handled it well (or not so well).
- Describe a time when you got away with something you don’t feel good about.
- Tell the group 3 things that make you really happy (sad).
- Name a man you admire and tell us why.
You can download a PDF copy of these and a few more questions at this link. If you use different questions, or have another strategy for getting these groups started, please share it with me here or add it to the comments section of this post.
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