Friday, October 21, 2016

Good question

Rambling along in life many times I accept what comes whatever it is at the time.  Good, bad or indifferent I've had plenty of each. I was scrolling through Facebook and someone posted a link to this speech.  Something about it intrigued me.  I worked for 15 years with computers support.  I wanted teachers and students to feel comfortable asking me questions.  Computers have an ability to make the brightest person feel really stupid.  I tell people is the only bad question is the one unasked.  I also reminded them that there isn't a stupid question about computers that I haven't already asked.  I believe in asking questions.  This article went on to identify and clarify several things that I believe about questions.

Some questions are used to intimidate and put down.  Any parent that has ever asked, "You aren't going out dressed like that?"  Knows exactly what I mean.  For those that are not parents there are the questions like "Aren't you a little OLD to be doing that?"  "Have you tried THIS diet?"  I believe you have the idea it is those questions used to 'prove' the speaker is somehow superior to you.  I hate those kind of questions and work very hard not to use them.  However, it is one I have to repent of on a regular basis.  The sarcastic, put down, mean spirited question exists.  It is helpful to recognize it.  It is fun to treat the person asking the question like they are serious.  "You aren't going out dressed like that?" Answer: "Of course I am and I can take you to the store where I got it and we can have matching outfits."  I usually think of these creative answers about 2 days later than the question.  I know some will come around again.  "Have you tried THIS diet?"  answer:  "I agree with Garfield, diet is die with a t at the end."  I also understand if I do this it is a bit like pouring oil on a fire but some days I like to live dangerously and it is probably a bridge I need to burn.  Put down, critical questions need to be recognized a thinly veiled insult.  

The are several other variety of questions.  "Wait, what?" They heard what you said but didn't understand what you meant.  They need more input.  I believe many misunderstandings would be avoided if people used "Wait, what?" a bit more often.  Indicating to the listener you are trying to understand them and requesting more information to improve chances of understanding each other. 

“Wait what” is actually a very effective way of asking for clarification, which is crucial to understanding. It’s the question you should ask before drawing conclusions or before making a decision.  The Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana, gave a great master class this year, where he emphasized the importance of inquiry before advocacy. It’s important to understand an idea before you advocate for or against it. The wait, which precedes the what, is also a good reminder that it pays to slow down to make sure you truly understand. ~ Ryan

Slowing down my thinking is essential to my understanding many situations.  I tend to excel at the sport of jumping to conclusions.  Wait and think, slow down racing thoughts....I help myself do this with my doodle drawings, pondering, and writing.  Give myself time to process and review my perspective. Asking questions for understanding helps strengthen bridges and build relationships. 

Next question is careful how you use it.  "I wonder?"  I used this question after I read an article about adoption of children from 3rd world countries.  The article shared how the children would hide and sneak food when there was plenty available.  I stared around my office and saw the case of water and the case of stew sitting next to my desk.  I wondered why I behaved just like them.  I wonder led me down many paths.  This curiosity was often squashed with "Curiosity killed the cat."  I learned to answer, "Satisfaction brought it back."  I wondered about all sorts of things quilting, cooking, computers, art, and many subjects.  When I became curious about myself, I started down this road to find out why I did what I did.  Some of the answers were astonishing and alarming.  Other answers helped me make sense of my very bizzare world I was raised in.  

There are a couple of more questions that I want to explore but this is getting a little long so to be continued. 


Judy said...

The original quote was "Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back," encouraging curiosity. Those who wanted to squash curiosity shortened the quote and used it to shame the questioner. Read about it, last week. :-)

Ruth said...

Cool information. :)