We’ve been talking about leading with questions in several contexts of the last several posts. You can read about those here, here, and here. This time let’s talk about how to do that in the home. If you’re like me (which means you’re a crazy oddball who is only about 10% of the population), then I’m sorry that you get frustrated so easily. Also, in that context, leading this way allows room for you to grow in patience, since you probably won’t like most of the answers to the questions that you ask. I’ll come back to that.
Let me start with the big idea. Here it is…DO. NOT.ASK. WHY. EVER.[TWEET THAT]
This question, will only server to frustrate you more than you already are. Especially if you have kids. Believe me. Think about this conversation:
Me: Why are you throwing water on your sister?
See? Didn’t that go great? I got the exact answer I asked for. Thing is…why is a reason word. You’re going to assume your child is reasonable…which isn’t always the case. In the same way that we aren’t always reasonable, kids are less so. I find facts are better. Who? What? When? Where? How? This forces your children, or anyone for that matter, into thinking about the things they do from a reasonable standpoint. “What is it about __________ that caused you to think to _____________?”
One of the big things to remember is the goal of the question. Even if the next step is some sort of corrective measure, the goal of the question is to understand the other person and what happened so that the correction is…correct (see what I did there?) and so that the correction doesn’t lead to disconnection, but rather, restores and enhances the relationships. I have found that what, not why, gives me more understanding into those around me. With my wife it’s the same way. Most people, myself included, don’t always know why, but it’s rare that I can’t answer what.
With my wife, I find asking a lot of questions in general helps me understand her better so that I can lead our home well as a patriarch. Asking her, what she’s reading, what she’s listening to, what frustrates her about our house. One thing to remember with any question you ask, is that the answer can serve to possibly frustrate you. Don’t let it, breathing helps. Remember you’re getting to know people who are different from you and who process things differently. If you’re asking questions and someone is telling you answers, it’s a good thing that means you’re both engaged.[TWEET THAT]
If you have older kids, this can get harder. Mainly because you know less of what’s happening during the day. Liz Evans at Huffington Post has already created a great list of questions to ask your kids about their school day here.
What about you? Do you have your own list of questions that you ask your family to help know them, so that you can lead them well?