by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
"Why don't my children listen to me?"
"Why doesn't he behave?"
"What's the matter with her?"
"Why does she keep doing that?"
Parents frequently ask us these questions and others like them at workshops, in e-mails, and on our radio programs. We have even asked some of the same questions ourselves when we parented our own children.
On one hand, these questions appear to beg for an answer. On the other hand, perhaps they arise to point us in a different direction—toward asking different questions. Maybe these questions serve to remind us that asking the right question is more important than coming up with a good answer to the wrong question.
Do this: The next time you hear yourself asking, or notice yourself thinking, a question similar to the ones above, consider changing your question. Perhaps one of the following questions might work better instead.
"Am I concentrating on what I am doing or on how I am doing it?"
"Do I prefer to be right or to be happy?"
"Is my experience determining my internal state, or is my internal state determining my experience?"
"How can I see this differently?"
"What would love do now?"
"Am I looking within or without?"
"Am I focusing on darkness or on light?"
"Am I choosing to love or to fear?"
"Do I desire to change them or to change me?"
"Am I listening to my ego or to who I really am?"
"What is the opportunity here?"
"Am I fighting the world that is or creating the world that could be?"
"Am I seeing through the eyes of God or through the eyes of my ego?"
"Am I looking for what is right or for what is wrong?"
"Do I see innocence or guilt?"
"Am I focused on someone else’s lesson here or on my own?"
"Am I asking, 'What can I get?' or 'What can I give?'"
"Am I hiding or revealing myself in this situation?"
"Is my agenda really about them or is it about me?"
"Is my forthcoming move going to be controlling or will it be releasing?"
"Am I remembering who I really am here?"
"Who do I want to be in this situation?"
"Am I focused on listening or on telling?"
"What am I resisting here?"
"What am I defending here?"
"What am I not forgiving here?"
"What am I blessing here?"
"Am I seeing the body or the spirit?"
The next time you find yourself pondering the question, "Why is my child doing that?" become an uncommon parent by questioning your question. Substitute one of these suggested questions instead. Our guess is that you will begin to see the original question in a different light. Create the perspective and experience you really want. Enjoy your reaction.
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the coauthors of Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children: Practical Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Help Children Manifest a Better World. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for educators and another for parents. To sign up for them or to learn more about the seminars they offer teachers and parents, visit their websites today: www.thomashaller.com and www.chickmoorman.com.