• 3 Questions to Inspire Your Child’s Year

Starting the year with purpose

We’re on the cusp of a new year.

Around this time, a few days before the start of a new year, many of us have time to think. We start to look at next year and think about how busy we may be. We focus on a few resolutions. But a lot of what we do is just busy work. The truth is that we complicate things. We flood our days with things that appear urgent, but aren’t really. We make our days far more difficult and tangled than they have to be.

It doesn’t have to be this hard, though. In fact, the most successful people in the world have a way of simplifying their goals for the next year and breaking them down into bite-sized chunks. When they approach things this way, they don’t feel the overwhelm that most people feel. Successful people do simple things for small amounts of time, every day. And a year later, they look back with appreciation on how far they’ve come.

So, can we take this principle and simplify it, so that our children can have more direction, meaning and personal enjoyment in 2018? Possibly, if they’re ready to engage in this idea. If they are, that’s great. If they’re not, give them time.

To simplify the process for you to have this conversation with your children, here are 3 questions to ask them to help shape 2018 in their favour.

Creating the Moment for the Conversation

This isn’t a random conversation that you will have at just any time. You need to lay the groundwork for it and receive permission from your child to have the conversation. Here’s a way of doing this:

  • Approach your child.
  • Ask, “When can I have fifteen minutes of your time? I want 2018 to be a great year for you. In fact, I want it to be better than any year you’ve had before. But to do that, I need to know what’s currently important to you.”
  • Confirm the time, date and hold them to it.

The conversation doesn’t have to be formal, but you will need a quiet space, free of noise and visual distractions.

Lastly, don’t go over fifteen minutes. Keep your word. Give five minutes for each of the three questions and thank them for their time.

1.    Meaning – “Where have you come from?”

We create meaning from our lives when we know where we have come from. This is the place where we look at our experiences and understand them to have some form of significance. This is also one of the toughest questions to ask a child. They often give a little head tilt the way dogs do when they’re confused or hear a sharp sound – you know the look I’m talking about!

So, let’s look at different variations of this question:

  • “What have been the most special things that have happened this year?”
  • “What do you remember most from this year?”
  • “If you could redo this year again, what are some of the things you would repeat?”
  • “If you could say thank you for one thing that happened this year, what would it be?”

Sometimes the answers will be vague. It’s not your job to make sense of them yet. Listen to the information and get ready for the next question.

2.    Orientation – “Where are you going?”

Imagine watching Superman about to launch himself into the sky. There’s a moment where his feet dig into the earth. He bends his knees and then, boom, he’s gone. Let’s use this in our example. The ground is the meaning that he uses to launch himself. It’s Questions no.1. The sky is the direction that he launches himself in. It’s Question no.2.

Without meaning, it’s pointless choosing a direction. Why? Because, without meaning there’s no force, no momentum, behind your direction. These two questions are inseparable because they need each other, like figure and ground, focus and periphery.

Here are some questions to ask your children to receive an answer to the orientation question:

  • What do you want to achieve in 2018?
  • Where do you want to go in 2018?
  • If everything you do takes you somewhere, where will you be at the end of 2018?
  • What do you want to focus on in 2018?

As before, nod your head at the answers and thank them for sharing.

3.    Purpose – “What do you want?”

“What? I’ve just asked that question!”

Yes you have.
Well, kind of.

This question is far deeper than simple direction, as you’ll see in the different ways of asking and phrasing it.

Asking someone what they want really means asking them what burns within them. Each of us has a question that burns within us. It’s an aching desire for something. It’s the reason we get up in the morning and the reason we become excited by the simple things in life. It’s also the reason we feel longing and emptiness and pain. The answer to this question extends far past the year that has past and the year that is coming. It’s a question that speaks about the personal forces in our own lives.

And most of the time, we have no idea what this question is…

In the example of Superman about to fly, the ground is the meaning, the sky is the orientation, but the force, the propulsion comes from his purpose. Superman is here to rescue, protect and defend the earth and its people. Everywhere he goes, he goes in order to rescue, protect and defend someone or something. That’s his purpose.

Here are a few phrasings to use when asking the question:

  • “What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?”
  • “If you had everything, every toy, every cent in the world, what would you want?”
  • “What do you want and why do you want it?”
  • “What is the thing that makes you feel most thankful?”
  • “What makes you excited to be alive?”
  • “What makes you feel the most sad when it’s not around?”
  • “What makes you irritated and angry when you can’t have it or do it?”

Putting It All Together

Some of the answers may surprise you.
Some of them may confuse you.
Sometimes the answers will take longer to make sense of.

Just know that what you’ve done by asking these questions is planted a seed of consciousness and awareness in your child’s mind. They may have been irritated by you asking the questions. They may have even been confused by the questions. But by asking these questions you’ve created a new focus within them and their minds.

The Reticular Activation System (RAS) is a small part of the brain that deals in finding answers. You don’t need to know the answers for your children, because the RAS will start to seek answers on their behalf.

All you need to do is remember the information they shared with you:

  • The meaning of their past year.
  • The direction they want to head in.
  • The thing that aches within them, the thing that they want above all else.

Throughout the year there will be opportunities that come up that allow your children to explore the direction they mentioned. And when these moments arise you will know the significance they hold. You will also be able to tell what is an area of focus from what is an area of distraction. This way you can help your children make the tough decisions that won’t benefit them in the long run. For instance, saying no to an extra sort that their friends want them to join, because you know that they really want to learn how to paint and create amazing canvasses.

Thank You

If you have read this far, I thank you for your time and I wish you a year of prosperity, inspiration and joy. May 2018 bring you and your family answers you simply were not expecting and rich conversations you’ve never had before.



© The Brilliance Quotient 2018

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