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The power of a question

Good school grades in “important” subjects, university degrees, and safe career paths that do not challenge the status quo. All of this is what the majority of us were taught was important, and what we may unthinkingly pass on to our children and make important for them.

The reality is that the geniuses in our world, the people who have shaped and changed the course of history have operated in a very different way. Think of Richard Branson, who is dyslexic, has little formal education, dropped out of school at aged 15, and is now hugely successful. Or an example from a different field. Leonardo de Vinci reportedly was unable to be physically still, or mentally still for very long. Imagine how he would fare in a conventional education system, and yet his innate desire for something different allowed him to excel.

A snapshot of the planet we call our home shows a grim picture: war, failing economic systems, massive destruction, people feeling powerless in the face of banks, governments, and corporations, as well as the seemingly impossibility of so many people to even feel happy. Somewhere we are failing, and surely our overall education system, including the ways we parent our own kids, must be at the heart of this problem, and also thankfully contain the seeds to a solution to the problem.

In school, reasoning and logic skills are considered vital. We are taught ways to come to a “right” answer, that has been predetermined and predefined. This absolutely cuts off creativity, and also leads the kids, and of course the adults too who cannot find the “right” answer with no choice but to be “wrong.”, in the system’s eyes, and also in their own eyes.

We are taught to memorise information, which we then regurgitate, in the process becoming a kind of computer, and shutting down our awareness, creativity and innate knowing. In this space, kids can become really bored and dumbed down; they know somehow the system is failing them, and yet they cannot allow that possibility: they start to judge themselves as the ones who are failing. Even the parents can think their children are failing.

Possibilities exist beyond the defined notions of what is going to work and not work. Einstein said that he spent ninety-nine per cent of his time discovering what the right question would be that would open the space to new awarenesses. And it’s sure that we need something new and different to emerge from the difficulties the planet is in.

The insistence on logic and definitions has taken us away from our awareness and into our mind. Awareness of energy is how every other species on the planet survives and thrives. Without this, they would quickly die. For example, when you put bird seed out of birds, they find it using their awareness of energy. Aborigines, who still live in the outback and are in tune with their true nature, sense exactly where the water is that they require – they sense it with their awareness of the energy of water. Before farmers were forced to abide by a clock, they listened to the land, the sky and the wind. We have long been trained out of this.

This focus on the answer also leads to a lack of awareness of the future; we are trained into immediate gratification, what works for the present, and looking after ourselves, without a thought to our neigbours, near, or on the other side of the planet. This model of the world loses sight of the fact that we are interconnected, and that what we choose today affects the future of our planet, and everyone else on the planet, not just us.

Encourage your kids to dream, and to ask questions. Encourage them to look beyond the “right” answers, constantly asking for more possibilities. Encourage them to trust their knowing; so often kids (and adults) are made wrong for making a choice that is not reasonable or logical, that they can’t explain – and yet it creates something greater in their lives. Let your kids know about this, so they don’t feel wrong for not being able to explain their choices.

Teach your kids the power of a question. When we ask an open-ended question (what else is possible? What if this answer is not the only thing available?), and wait, awarenesses of what else is possible beyond the conclusions can start to come in. We are taught to rush forward with the conclusions; actually asking questions and leaving space for the answers to emerge can create so much more. It takes an intelligent person to see the bigger picture, question everything, and keep on reaching for more – and whilst the geniuses of the world may have had this naturally, this is also something that can be cultivated, encouraged, and taught.

Be okay if your kids make choices that mean they won’t fit in. This can be hugely uncomfortable for us as parents. And yet, fitting into the status quo will only create more of the same, which will never work for the future sustainability of our planet.

Fitting into the paradigm of logic and right answer requires judgment. We need to be constantly judging if our answer is “correct”, and if we are staying within the defined “parameters”. When we start to operate from possibilities, we have to let go of judgment; and as we let go of more and more judgment, more of the undiscovered possibilities became available to us. Imagine the gift of your kids being encouraged to operate from this space.

Another thing I suggest is to empower your kids with a way to be aware of what their actions will create, rather than giving them rules to follow. For example, if we teach them blindly that shouting is “wrong”, they are left judging themselves if they are unable to stop the shouting, maybe the desire to shout just to rebel, and beyond that a feeling that they are being “made” to behave a certain way, which shuts down their creativity. The alternative is to invite them to consider what shouting will lead to in a particular situation; the kids are often able to see that the shouting (or other behavior) is not going in the direction they would like, and they choose a different behavior. And with this example, they have a tool they can use for other situations.

When we start to operate from this place of awareness and possibilities and empower the next generation with this knowledge, everything can change. If we were really willing to question everything, get out of conclusion, our world would open up to a level of hidden, unprecedented intelligence that would evolve our species to create a planet where there was no misery, war, corrupt politics, and economic system destroying our planet.



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