The questions kids ask themselves when stressed can either move them forward or keep them stuck. Asking, “What does this make possible?” helps kids gain a positive perspective during difficult times.
Kids can benefit from being intentional about how they view the circumstances they’d never choose. Just as positive self-talk can quiet their inner critic, positive self-questioning can improve their inner sense of well-being.
Try having kids ask, “What does this make possible?”
For each student and each situation, the answer to this question will be unique. It will force them to dig deep and look at things through a lens of hope and possibility. It challenges them to examine the facts subjectively and imagine positive outcomes.
When you hear kids asking “why” questions, like “Why is this happening to me?”, encourage them to ask “what” instead.
Asking “What does this make possible?” works with minor disappointments as well as bigger issues. Whether kids are struggling with a challenging art project or difficult news at home, this approach can help.
How this question has worked for me
I first remember hearing this concept years ago from my adult daughter, Allie. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, nor where she learned it (not from me!), but it stuck with me. I’ve found myself asking this question whenever things go “not according to plan”, and it’s helped me time after time.
I applied this principle when I gave up my teaching position to help care for my elderly mom. I wasn’t ready to leave the classroom and wouldn’t have planned that to happen when it did. But by asking, “What does this make possible?” I was able to see that time with her as a gift even as I was grieving the loss of my students.
What others are saying
While writing this, I paused to google, “What does this make possible?” just to see what others had to say. I came across a blog post on this topic by leadership expert, Michael Hyatt. While he frames his thoughts from a business perspective, the essence of his theory is similar.
He talks about how asking “Why?” questions can be part of the grieving process when we experience sadness or loss. But since we can’t change the past, it’s more productive for us to shift our focus to what’s ahead.
It’s been a rough couple of years for everyone. May the question, “What does this make possible?” help you and the kids in your life move forward with hope.
an inspiring quote:
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement” ~ Sir Ken Robinson
An attitude of curiosity can help kids find inspiration and direction in both the good times and the bad. Curious students also learn faster and remember more.
We can model curiosity for kids by “thinking out loud” and sharing our thought processes. Sharing questions we think about and saying, “I wonder…” will encourage our students to be more curious, too.