The Participation Blog

The Best, Fundamental Question of All May Be, ‘‘Why’’

I’m starting to think that much of what we need to know about resolving conflict with people we could have learned from our kids if we’d paid closer attention. Kids rarely take no for an answer. The usual kid response to being told no is most often, ‘‘why?!’’ That usually leads to a longer explanation which, admittedly, might eventually end with an exasperated, “because I said so!” And it seems childishly simple, but I’m coming to understand that we just don’t ask “why” often enough in tough conversations. “Why” is a root question that almost always leads to richer answers, more thoughtful discussions and self-reflection. I’d avoid the “because I said so” part, but I think why is really useful.