A while back, I started reading Ozan Varol’s weekly blog posts. He is a self-proclaimed contrarian thinker. He recently sent out this post on the 6 questions to stop asking children. The questions are terrific! I wish I had this 26 years ago to have made family dinner time with our four kids even more productive and interesting. I’ll definitely be asking these questions to my 9-month-old grandson, Arlo, when he’s old enough to chit-chat, and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.
Dinner was always my favorite time of the day, partially because I felt it was one of the most important times to interact as a family. I used to ask the kids at dinner, “What is best thing that happened to you today?” I did this to stimulate positive thoughts, plus, everyone else at the table got to hear how their day went and what was important to them. I also had a rule that only one person was allowed to talk at a time. With six people sitting at the table, you can imagine it was easy for some to be distracted and carry on their own conversations while ignoring their family member telling us their “best thing.”
My favorite out of the questions below is to stop asking, “What did you accomplish this week?” and replace it with, “What did you fail at this week?” You might think this type of question is the opposite of what I just told you about the “best thing,” so why would this be my favorite? I always wanted my kids to know that it was okay to fail. Our best lessons are learned through failing, and if you are not failing, you are not growing, expanding, getting smarter, etc. Without experiencing failure, people become too risk-averse and get stuck living in their comfort zone.
One last thought before you get to enjoy Ozan’s post. When I entered high school, my Dad told me I should take all honor classes. I didn’t think I was smart enough, but he told me, “You would be better off to get a C in honor classes than an A in the regular classes.” So I took all honor classes. I never liked school, but I was glad I listened to him. I had to work hard, and I didn’t get all As, but I learned I could do it. Only seven kids out of over four hundred in our graduating class graduated with honors. I was one of them. I wouldn’t have graduated with honors without knowing that, rather than try to be perfect, it was okay to stretch myself and simply do the best that I could.