If you were to ask me the most important thing parents can provide their children, camp counselors can provide campers, and teachers can provide students, I can sum it up with one word.
Building a relationship and connecting with kids—while also helping them learn to connect with each other and form friendships—is the most important experience we can provide our kids to innoculate them against the inevitable setbacks they will face in life.
How do people connect?
• By asking questions
• By listening
• By showing interest in the person and their answers
• By asking more follow-up questions
Today I finished an amazing book called The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath. In it, they discuss psychologist Arther Aron’s 36 Questions. Aron’s list of progressively more intimate questions became famous because his 1997 research proved something remarkable — strangers taking turns asking and answering this list of questions grew a greater level of closeness in 45 minutes than most people report having with even their closest long-time friend or partner.
Let me restate that. In just 45 minutes of taking turns asking each other questions and listening to each other’s answers, strangers felt a level of closeness many people have never experienced with another person.
I was reminded about how camp counselors use questions to help campers connect with each other around the campfire, at meals, and while walking around camp. Many campers, strangers to each other when they arrive at camp, report feeling closer to their cabin mates than they are to their friends at home. Could it be all the great discussions, including asking and answering questions?
My Questions for Connection PDF, which counselors use at camp, is a great tool for parents to use at home, as well.
Want to get closer to your kids? Why not unplug and take some time to connect through asking each other questions? Family dinner, a walk together, or a drive around in the car are all great opportunities for questions.
I bet you’ll be able to create some closer connections at home!
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