A timely reminder of the power of questions

A picture of fury, her fists clenched in rage, a wail of frustration and feet stamping in determination. No, this was not a call for conflict resolution or a workplace dispute – this was my three and a half year old daughter as I was trying to get ready for work this morning. Not that noteworthy perhaps, if you are familiar with children of this age  – apparently these are symptoms of a massive development surge. But quite startling to witness if you are not used to it. What really grabbed my attention today though was my wife’s response. Just as I was about to launch into crisis management mode, laying down the rules about what was, or was, not acceptable behaviour, I heard her ask our daughter a question. ‘Given that you have to get dressed before we can go out, how do you want to get that done?’. A flicker of a pause in the screaming; a recognition of choices; a glimpse of empowerment – the possibility that this tantrum could take a different course… And a great reminder to me that it is the questions we ask that shape our world – rarely do my orders make much impact. And how challenging it is to remember that, when it feels personal and the pressure is on…

One Comment

  • Ayman Fahmy says:

    Very true and impactful, I would even further support that not only does it work with children but as well at work with colleague tantrums where you would indulge with that question that would just throw them off guard and hypnotically start diswaying them from their totally lost the plot stage to seeing light at then end if the tunnel, I get a chance to try it with my youngest a 3 year old and it works just marvelessly with adults as well : ) thank you