• Randy Swaim

Rising Stars: Learn to Question Well to Develop Them.

As we think about teaching or raising our Rising Stars, it is critical that we learn to not just tell them what to do but we learn to ask them questions. 


Psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman recently gave a great illustration of this.

He pointed out that let’s say that your son or daughter says “We should get a pony”.  Many parents would say we can’t do that, that is dumb.  A better approach as one technique is to say:


Wow, what a good thought…….Do you really want that?  Well let’s look at that for a minute.  It would be great to ride your pony to school and ride the pony by your school bus……but you know…..while everyone else is on break or at lunch, you would need to be out feeding your pony so you will miss your friends.  Also, if we do it right, the Rising Star will often realize……..oh but we live in a 2 bedroom apartment so where would we put the pony?” 


and other such approaches.  If we do it right, they will figure it out.


There are several advantages to such an approach:


First – If we ask the great questions,  they will often go right where we wanted them to go.


Second – We are also helping them develop their ability to analyse the details.  This caries with it a third great advantage if we look at their journey a few years down the road.


Third – Down the road, these Rising Stars will have a point where they will be confronted with a risky decision.  Someone may approach them with a drug or a dangerous choice.  If we have helped them develop the ability to assess and decide wisely, they will assess it will at the point of attack.


If we shortcut this process, they will become adults with a reduced ability to assess and decide wisely and this will impact  their future or could negatively impact their safety.

As I think about my now 8 year old grand-daughter, I am amazed at how this different approach has been revolutionary with her.  It has given her confidence in her ability to sort things out and while she still has a ways to go as would any 8 year old but it is revolutionizing her young life.  It has had a great impact on her developing leadership.


A week ago,  she sat on my knee when as a family we had  ice cream together.  As she and I talked about it I pointed out the affect on her leadership.  She asked about it and I said you know when I saw that for the first time?  At her kindergarten graduation, each student had to take the microphone and tell what they would like to be when they grew up.  She was confident alone on the stage but it was noticeable that those after her showed more confidence than those before and I pointed that out.  She said “But Pawpaw, I was scared that time” to which I said “I know and that is very normal, but you did it anyway and you made a difference in those who followed you”.  If we use a different approach, some amazing things can happen in who our Rising Stars are becoming.


Coach Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC

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