Have you ever asked that question of one of your kids?
Let's face it...we all have. I know I have.
Here is why it's the wrong question...
We know they messed up. They made the wrong choice, a bad decision. We get it. They get it (yes, even if they won't admit it). So how do we change the outcome next time?
We flip the script.
When we ask them "What were you thinking?" it's confrontational. What we need to be reaching for is something that is conversational.
I don't know too many people that feel very comfortable in a confrontational setting. By it's nature it makes someone defensive. They shut down. Better to say little, if nothing at all, and let the storm pass. (fyi...we are that storm in their eyes. Hard to hear, but so true)
Great, Brett. But how in the world do we start a conversation when our blood is boiling over the bad decision they just made? We need to make one small change to the question "What were you thinking?"
What weren't you thinking?
Well...we don't actually say it to them that way. But we need to process it in our minds that way. We know what they were thinking, because they are sitting in front of us. It's what they weren't thinking that could have helped them avoid the poor choice that landed them here.
SO...we need to rewind and find the point that something they weren't thinking about could have helped them avoid the wrong decision. Every single person is different, so this moment will be as well. It's based on who they are as an individual, and their set of beliefs. If they don't see value in it, you can get on a soapbox and preach it, and it won't matter to them.
Every person is unique. That makes every challenge they face unique to them as well. The stressors, pressures, and unknowns in their world all impact the decisions they make. What looks crazy to us, might be more of a survival mode to them. What makes no sense in our world, makes total sense to them. And the only way we are going to help the next generation avoid the chair in front of us after-the-fact, is to teach them how to process that moment before-the-fact.
Character education isn't a cliche'. It's not some fluffy idea. And it's certainly not just slapping up inspirational posters on hallways in a school.
Our kids need a process for their progress.
I'll leave you with this:
When you know the destination you want to arrive at, and you don't know how to get there, how do you overcome that obstacle?
It's no different in decision making. We can want our kids to arrive at the destination of better choices. But unless we give them a mental GPS to get there...well...we need to stop being shocked when they don't.
Does your school have a process in place that teaches kids HOW to make the right decisions? Is it a cookie-cutter approach that treats every kid the same way, even though they are unique individuals? Are you beginning to wonder if something more could be done for your kids?
Something does exist that can help your school, your kids, and your community teach the next generation how to arrive at that destination.
Don't take my word for it, listen to what others say about it.
If we are serious about finding a solution to things like bullying and the inappropriate use of technology, we need to start talking about making character education a staple in our schools.
Here is what can happen when we do:
We have to do whatever it takes to get out in front of this. I believe we can make a difference, and have seen this process work over and over again in many different schools.
It would be an honor to work with your kids, your school, and your community. If this sounds like something you'd love to see implemented where you live, you can reach me by filling out the form below.