Let’s think about questions, for just a sec, Chickens. I have a singular obsession with questions…they are things of beauty, part art – part science…being in the presence of a Master Questioner is transcendental.
But for me…I’m a clumsy buckwheater, friends. Here’s what I know…
- Never ask “yes” or “no” questions, Chickens. If you’re a parent or teacher you know the rules of this game. “Closed” questions, easily answered by a word or two, don’t require much thought on the part of the questionee and don’t yield much insight for the questioner.
- Questions that begin with “why” are important because they explore reasons, motivations, perceptions...but they’re often interpreted as blamey-judgy.
- Asking good questions is more important than having good answers.
- Questions are best asked from a place of genuine curiosity and artless ignorance.
So…just in time for the holiday season…let’s celebrate the specialness of questions. And let’s commit to cultivating our own cornucopia of questioning habitudes…O frabjous day, caloo, calaa! (You already know I’m weirdly wordy, don’t get all eye-rolley).
My Fowl Friends’ Guide to Questioning Habitudes
1. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why~Bernard Baruch
Look behind and beyond actions and behaviors. Seek to understand why people, yourself included, behave as they do. Understanding the reasons and motivations for actions, events, and behaviors is the key to unlocking change.
⇒e.g.Why does my son refuse to annotate when reading?
2. Good questions outrank easy answers~Paul A. Samuelson
If you aren’t struggling, if you aren’t feeling a little uncomfortable or uncertain from time to time, if you haven’t developed your own repository of 4-letter words…well then…I have an 8-letter word for you: S-T-A-G-N-A-T-E. And, oh yeah, how ’bout this 7-letter gem: F-A-T-H-E-A-D.
⇒e.g. Why do I have to ____________? (fill-in-the-blank…take this class [most often math?] attend this meeting? explain myself? work with so-and-so?…and-on-and-on)
3. He who is ashamed of asking is ashamed of learning~Danish Proverb
Just get over it already…put on your grown-up pants and do what needs to be done…there’s nothing more worrisome than someone who is afraid of her own voice. What’s the worst that can happen? A snarky or impatient or condescending reply? No reply at all? And if any of these do happen – you and the sun will rise the next day. A question asked for better understanding or out of genuine curiosity met with frustration, anger, or disdain is the asker’s strength and the answer-er’s deficiency.
⇒e.g. Will you help me study for my next test?
You hafta’ look out for you, Chickens…don’t let all the squawking, wet hens dampen your juju.
So start questioning…yourself, your special people, and your not-so-special-but-have-to-deal-with people, too!
I’ll get the ball rolling with a supa-dupa seasonal inquisition…commence!