4 questions I ask my daughter each day.

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summer walks = best time for talks.

I’m not one to assume people by nature are duplicitous.

I’m am, however, consistently surprised how transparent people are when offered opportunity to reveal themselves.

When one is silent and listens kids will people will share everything.

Everything which, at times, includes “turning themselves in.”

Allow me to back up and bring you into my misfit train of thought.

My sister works in human resources.

Once, as I filled out paperwork for a job search, I asked her if people really fessed up on the questionnaires I’d been given/she used at work.

The pre-hire questions used to suss out (<—first time using. not so much enjoying) individuals of a less than honest nature.

I wondered aloud if this was a waste of time or if people admitted Yep. Stole from last employer! Totally fired from last job for smuggling office supplies out at night!

I still think about her response as I go through life (not hiring but) truth-seeking:

You’d be surprised what people will answer if asked.

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ahhh, the potential for question-asking is endless.

At the time just asking seemed simplistic, but decades of life later I see how right she was.

It was her remark (coupled with experience asking the wrong kind of close ended yes/no queries) which sparked me to decide to ask my daughter 4 questions each day.

The same 4 questions.

It’s become part of our routine.

It’s become a facet of our daily chatter.

It’s surprised me, ala my sister’s response, how blunt and honest her answers have been.

You’d be surprised what people will answer if asked.

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The questions themselves aren’t complicated:

  • What are you most looking forward today?
  • What are you most dreading?
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What are you most grateful for today?

The responses, however, often are.

During the academic year I pose the first two as we walk to school (a luxury I’m grateful for).

There’s zero eye-contact.

We’re both on the lookout for “amazing things” as she calls them (baby deer, armadillos…).  The fears and joys contained in her answers have, at times, shocked me.

Her uncensored resplies when I ask and listen (no verbal interruptions ever) often surprise.

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amazing(ly blurry) photo of a nursing fawn.

I believe routine (it’s just part of our morning) and the lack of a static backdrop (our walk constantly changes) has helped facilitate her honesty.  I think, to an extent, she clicks into a sort of relaxed autopilot and in the greatest of ways ceases to censor.

I typically pose the second question fairly close to where we part ways. At times, the relief she’s displayed at being able to share her “burden” before heading off solo has been palpable.

Initially, I worried my second question might plant the idea of dread in her mind.  I wondered if my asks should all be framed positive so her mind didn’t travel to the negative.

The more I’ve asked her, however, the more I realized she’s far more grown up than she seems.

Most days there is something she’s not looking forward to and my probing provides us opportunity (but not too much. no time to obsess!) to talk about it and often work through.

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it’s easy to underestimate what’s happening inside there.

On days where there’s nothing she’s dreading she happily responds just that and runs off to find friends.

You’d be surprised what people will answer if asked.

The third and fourth questions unfold organically as we wrap up our day.

Many times I ask the third on the drive home from school (there’s that freedom of no eye contact again) and the fourth right before sleep.

I’ve posed these questions to her for years with only the slightest of accidental variation at times.

I don’t know if they will work/remain the same during the impending tween years (!), yet I hope laying the ground work of consistent communication will at least allow her to know I’m interested.

I’ll listen.

I will let her share and communicate without interruption or judgement.

You’d be surprised what people will answer if asked.

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she’s growing up so quickly.

So far they’re working and providing me glimpses into her worries.

So far (and potentially just for now) they elicit no eye rolls or sighs of “Moooooom.”

You’d be surprised what people will answer if asked.

 And you?

Whether you work with children, hang out with small people or have a child(ren) of your own:

  • What questions do you consistently pose to the small people in your life?

The post 4 questions I ask my daughter each day. appeared first on Carla Birnberg.

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This entry was published on June 16, 2015 at 3:29 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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