What If We Asked More Questions?
15 June 2018
Since I became a parent, I have found myself feeling nostalgic and reflective about my childhood through a different lens. I’ve noticed that my parents asked me a lot of questions as I grew up. This probably contributed to my choice of career where I spend a big portion of my week asking questions. Specifically, I endeavor to ask as many open questions as possible. Open questions can take a conversation many places, closed questions can tend to shut the possibilities of a conversation down.
I could ask more questions though. What would it look like if we all asked more questions? Here are a couple of ideas:
Think about what it is like when someone asks you a question about who you are. What are you passionate about? What are your hopes and visions for your future? Or even, what is your favourite music and why?
My experience of that is, “Wow, there is another human being that finds me interesting enough to ask me more about me”. I can feel valued and interesting when someone asks me a question. In a parenting context, we can let our kids know that they are valuable, interesting and worth knowing about by asking them questions.
My counselling supervisor asks me questions regularly that I don’t know how to answer straight away. I can learn about myself when someone asks me a question. What are the implications of this in regards to how we relate to our kids? When we ask our kids questions, they can understand themselves more.
If I ask questions and I am truly open to listening, I can learn so much about others. There is an infinite amount of learning we can do with our kids because they are always evolving, progressing and changing (and we are too!). I have heard through the years a reoccurring theme from different students, “my parents still treat me the way that I used to be”. How can we be intentional about understanding how our kids change? I rang my Dad as I was preparing this column and he shared some wisdom with me. “Children change quickly, so parents have to change quickly too – we can try to rein them in or we can EXPLORE different avenues and FREE them.” Can asking our kids questions contribute to strengthening our relationship with them? What is the cost of not staying updated to the latest changes in our kids?
Hearing someone else’s perspective helps shape my own. I find myself regularly learning about myself from hearing others. What can we learn from our kids?
This is a small intersection of a large conversation. What are some other benefits of asking questions? What would it be like to experiment with asking more questions?