It is important that we are asking good questions…
Perhaps the greatest gift…is the gift of a new question.
—Gerald J. Caffrey
Quality questions are simple, precise, direct, and thought-provoking. They instantly trigger thinking about the issue to be worked out and can help move children into action. They also take some pressure off stressed-out parents who are trying to figure out the just-right things to say and/or do for their child each day.
Quality implies care and attention — your mindful presence. The ideal purpose in framing your questions is to genuinely seek to be informed about your child’s current thinking and behavior — to learn about and understand how she is choosing to run her life. Instead of trying to immediately control a troubling situation, in this practice you are like a curious and skilled investigative reporter. Your job is to get the story about what is going on and how it is happening. You respectfully inquire instead of interrogating and judging. Your future parenting activity can spring from and be guided by the foundational understanding you gain from your child’s answers to your quality questions.
In his booklet entitled Meditation, Gerald J. Caffrey addresses the value of questions for figuring out how to live a life. He offers this way of thinking about questions:
No new question = No new future
Good questions = Good answers
Lousy questions = Lousy answers
Same questions = Same answers
Different questions = Different answers
New questions = New answers
No questions = No answers
And I would add: Quality questions = Quality answers
When adults effectively set the stage, children will figure out most of what they need to do to successfully run their lives at any and all ages and stages. Quality questions do help set the stage.
Stay tuned in as I populate my future blog-posts with many samples of what I call “quality questions,” from my book, Ask More, Tell Less…