The Most Brilliant Parenting Advice that also Works in Business
With one simple question, reduce misunderstanding and discover delight.
When I realized my grand plan to get married and have kids wasn’t going to manifest, I decided I would forge ahead on my own. For me, that meant doing research to learn parenting techniques and building a support system to help me make it happen.
I served on the board at our local Conflict Resolution Center (focused on mediation) and met a remarkable woman named Rainbow Markell. She was an experienced Early Childhood Education pro, and she turned me on to the RIE Method of child-rearing that I still use today in dealing with other humans.
Because her advice proved to be so powerful, I realized early childhood educators are like child whisperers. Their experience could reveal secrets we mere mortals might never know.
She set the stage for what happened next — another life-changing moment.
Around age three, when my daughter was in preschool, her teacher came up to me with an update.
“I need to tell you something I learned about your daughter,” Cari said. “She always surprises me.” (At this point, most of us parents know this is code for, uh oh). Cari continued.
“There’s the right way to do something and the wrong way, but with your daughter, there’s also the Katie way.” She hit the nail on the head. I hadn’t thought about it, but she was 100% right.
“Yeah,” I laughed. “I hear you. Imagine what happens at our house!” and I thought she was done. But she wasn’t.
“May I make a suggestion,” she asked. “When you see her doing something you don’t understand or if she’s resisting, just ask her this one simple question: what’s your idea? I think you’ll be glad you did.”
With that, she unlocked the one question I used for the rest of Katie’s life (so far). I also started using it as a leader and a collaborator. Its superpower is preventing me from assuming I know the reason for someone else’s answer or behavior. It…