The way we frame questions can lead to solution-oriented responses. Tonight's episode Is sponsored by Db! Get 10% off your next purchase! https://bit.ly/37cP8YP
Good evening and welcome to my humble podcast abode. I am Coco green, just that they do something who is seriously delighted that it's Wednesday and the fact that I get to talk to you guys about life, love, and a bevy of other topics. One of my favorite songs by Anita Baker is called Talk to Me. Even though I love the song, I think the lyric that repeats in the song saying what's wrong, what's wrong with you, is a little off the mark when it comes to supporting others doing emotionally charged times. There's a better question that can be asked. Tonight I'm going to share three examples of the power of the right question.
It is almost a pre-programmed reaction when we see someone crying or someone down to say what's wrong, I get it. We are in a hurry to get to the heart of the matter with the thought that we can maybe help this person feel better, or ease their suffering in some way. I would submit to you that what's wrong, is a deficit-based way of getting into this situation. I think there's another doorway that is much more positive and powerful. When someone is struggling or having a hard time, these simple words can make all the difference in the world. The question that I suggest you try is, how can I support you? How can I support you opens the door to working on a solution instead of focusing on the problem. It makes the individual think about what do I need in the situation to help me elevate from my current mode. Once that person is able to articulate what it is they need from you, you can begin putting something together to help them with that need.
Working with children can be rewarding, but also challenging. Often you may see striking out or withdrawal when a child is trying to say, "Hey, I'm hurting and I need you, but it really does not come off that is not the issue, because of the big emotions that are on display at the time. I had a situation where I was working with a child who had an enormous outburst. When I say the child had an emotional outburst. I mean, they had an emotional outburst times 10! People were struggling to reach this kiddo, you know, everybody was saying, "Oh, what's wrong, what can I do?" You know the child looked up at them like, okay, let me turn it up a notch so they really get that I'm having a problem. I looked at the child and I said, "Hey, how can I support you right now? The child looked at me with a look that said that nobody's ever asked me that. What this child was feeling was a huge sense of being overwhelmed by an environment, they found overly stimulating. Then they said to me, "Hey, I need to go outside and I need to be somewhere quiet." The whole situation de-escalated. You know, sometimes we just need to change the way we frame our support in order for that support to be valid to the person we're reaching out to.
Now, this is not a strategy that I just used with young children. I was working with middle school students and a young lady was as difficult as difficult could be. Day in and day out, she would challenge the adults who were just simply doing their best to impart knowledge to her. She would have none of it! Even though I have strong classroom relationship-building skills, this young lady was testing me, along with her other teachers. One day, I told her, Hey, I just want to talk. she thought I was going to write a discipline reform for her, even though I had not written a single one the entire semester for anybody else. She put her head down on the desk as if she was not going to listen to anything I had to say. I shared my thoughts about why I thought she was presenting the challenging behavior. Then I asked her, "How can I support you?" She lifted her head slowly, and a flood of tears rained down from her big brown eyes. This young lady opened up to me and shared some heartbreaking information that I will not repeat because she spoke to me in confidence. That encounter changed the dynamic of our interactions for the remainder of the year. She came back to visit me when she was in high school. She was grateful for the day she was freed from an unspeakable burden. So how does this question work with adults? I will share an example with you after I pay the bills for this podcast.
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2020 was a year of triumph and tragedy for me. I started a blog and this podcast which was great, but I also had to deal with some major traumatic events. I had to make a decision to take someone I cared about off life support. Because of the pandemic, I could not travel to be with this person. When I talked to the doctor, he could tell that I was hesitant to make the decision, even though the medical information was clear. This person had no brain activity. A ventilator was the only thing keeping this individual alive. I want to tell you that I have never met a more compassionate doctor before in my life! He used words that I have spoken many times. The physician asked me, how could he support me? My answer was simple. I don't want her to die alone. The doctor assured me, I was making the right decision to take her off the ventilator. He also went on to say that someone will be with her, it may not be him, but someone would be with her. Later that day, a nurse called me to say that my loved one was removed from the ventilator, and she was with her when the final moment came. I can tell you that I was deeply relieved to know that my loved one did not die alone. How can I support you is a powerful question. Give it a try the next time you want to help someone who's going through something.
Thanks for listening. And as always, I wish you good health, good fortune, and a goodnight. Cocoa Griot out!.