You know that amazing feeling you get when someone sits down beside you and listens deeply to what you’re saying and how you’re feeling? When they:
- listen patiently as you struggle to describe the challenges and name the emotions you’re feeling,
- allow you to name the bad things as well as the good things (without trying to fix it!),
- take the time to put themselves in your shoes and say things like “Wow, that must’ve been really scary” (and actually mean it!), and
- cheer you on as you explore how God might see the situation…?
My husband and I are learning to do this for each other in a deeper way – and it is fantastic :-)!
As we know this process builds connection and trust and intimacy. And also helps us grow into the best version of ourselves.
It is so good that it is not just for adults. This process works so well that we need to remember to use it with our children.
Yes, right now, in the midst of all this uncertainty, this connection, trust and intimacy is exactly what our children need to help them feel safe!
Of course we want to teach our children, correct our children, direct our children. And of course (at times) we also need to teach our children, correct our children, direct our children.
But in order for our children to accept our teaching, our correcting, our directing, they need to first feel connected with us.
Can you tell that I’m preaching to myself, here? I’ve been too directive around my children this week, too keen to implement robust “morning jobs” for the whole family….
… which means that now is the perfect time for me to revisit the genius of the “No-Wrong-Answer-Question”.
Its genius lies in its effect on us, the adult. It prevents us from slipping into teaching or correcting mode. It helps us to listen, unconditionally, to our children’s opinions and experiences.
Because, seriously, amazing things can happen when we wait it out just a little bit longer than we are comfortable with….. I’ve been a visiting storyteller to classrooms in which all sorts of holy moments have occurred from the most mundane beginnings. Sometimes children’s reflections on dog poo, on stealing all the food, on dying …. really do progress to great insights.
So today let’s explore asking questions that do not have a wrong answer.. Because, yes, it takes a lot of practice, and yes, it is totally worth it!
Please press reply and let me know, I wonder what happens inside you when you ask the right “no-wrong-answer-question” and listen deeply to your child’s answer?
P.S. Examples of No-Wrong-Answer questions include….
- I wonder, what do you hear?
- How do these colours make you feel?
- What is your favourite character?
- I wonder what we could leave out from this story?
- Is there anything in this story that could be a bit similar to our family?
- You could even say: “there’s no wrong answer to this question … I wonder …”
- And I find a really good response to a child’s sharing is .. “Mmmmmmm”