Whether we notice it or not, we are almost constantly asking our brain a question, and then ‘listening’ to our internal voice with all the possible answers, thoughts and solutions our brains can muster. We are often more interested in the answers and ruminations that follow a question, and sometimes don’t even notice we are asking ourselves questions. More importantly, we rarely take charge, and start inserting questions that really serve us. This article is about taking charge by understanding the importance of asking thoughtful, intentional questions!
Powerful questions lead to potent answers and serve to direct thought and action. Mediocre questions lead to uninspiring, dull answers. Today, I simply want to suggest inserting one golden question into your daily life.
The Golden Question: “Will this improve the quality of my life…our child’s life?”
This one question can change your life, if you take it seriously. You might be tempted to consider it to be too simple but think over it and you will find a hidden value in it. This question has the capacity to reduce temptation for immediate rewards and helps us to pause and ask how a choice will serve our family.
It’s the ultimate value clarification…in 10 seconds or less!
Let’s imagine you are contemplating a binge run on Netflix. Ask the Golden Question!
Or let’s say you’re on the way home from baseball, and the kids are screaming for fast food. Again, ask the Golden Question.
Imagine this: Your daughter insists on spending another hour on her phone. She has yet to do her homework, and her attitude really stinks.
In each situation, notice what happens if you quickly contemplate the golden question. Over and over, it gives you opportunity to consider what is most important for you.
The Golden Question Clarifies Short-term vs. Long-term Values
If not careful, we can get hooked on the immediate satisfaction of providing the very “thing” our children want. In order to avoid the tantrum or the emotional ugliness, we tend to give in rather than stick to the healthy path.
When we ask the Golden Question, we find ourselves pulled away from the thought of this moment and re-directed to the big picture. In other words, the big picture is keeping in mind how this choice affects their entire life, and your life together as a family.
Stay with the BIG PICTURE answers for a while, as these will keep you on a healthy track. The momentary unhappiness or dissatisfaction that comes from your children will pass; the value of the long-term decisions will be there forever.
At times we get too carried away by our kids’ demands for immediate gratification to be aware of the long-term consequences. We are caught in their apparent misery, expressed as if the end of the world was here because they didn’t get to go to another sleepover.
Remember: Their unhappiness is not cause for you to surrender what is better in the long term! And, it’s not cause for you to be unhappy with them!
It is not the quest for the correct answer!
This question does not call for searching for the right answer. Nobody is going to get a prize for it. This question is intended to direct you to remain aware of your true values, and to keep those in mind as you make decisions for yourself and your family.
Remember: don’t think about convenience before deciding whether to eat fast food a third time in one week. Many times, convenience comes at a cost. In a similar way, seeking harmony over what is true to your integrity comes at a cost.
The Golden Question will keep you on track, if you listen and attend to the answer. Will this make our lives better? Will this serve to improve the quality of our life? Yes or no? It’s worth investing in this clarification on regular basis and noticing where it takes you.