Problems Offer Opportunities

Kim Kaizen is a wonderful life coach who shares a powerful message I want to share with you. She recognizes everyone has their “laundry list” of challenges and many of us focus on the why of this list. She suggests to shift our focus in this way: we can think of the laundry list as the clouds in the sky and the sky as our infinite wisdom to guide us. When we focus on what is not working instead of how to solve it, it’s like looking at the clouds, and missing the sky.

She states, “What people need more of, in my view, is not the wisdom that comes AT them, but the wisdom that comes THROUGH them.  Sometimes, this wisdom can nudge us to go seek out expertise or advice from somewhere else – that’s fine. But so many people overlook and neglect the wisdom that’s always there, whispering, if our minds are quiet enough to hear it.”

Children are conditioned to think they need help finding answers when given them too quickly.  They have the answers within them if given the time to find them. Once they have tried different ways of solving their problems, they can then turn to us if they need more guidance on how to access their unique ability to find the answers.  This requires parents and teachers evaluate how we respond to children’s questions.

The more I studied the power of the brain and how to access this infinite wisdom and creativity, the more I am amazed at my father’s wisdom handed down from his parents. He never answered questions, he only replied with, “What do you think?” It always made me ponder my questions. If I found an answer and shared it with him, he would respond with, “What made you come up with that conclusion?” 

Kim shares that when she shifted her view, “The laundry list was still there – but now I was connected to that space within where all our insights and creativity come from.  The space where my own wisdom started to come through and showed me how to handle everything that was on the laundry list. Again, it’s an innocent misunderstanding.  As long as it looks to you like you’re supposed to control the weather in order to be happy and successful, you’re going to spend all your time and energy doing that.”

How does this apply to our children and our role in their learning? We are the guides who can coach our children to see challenges as opportunities to tap into their ability to find solutions. We simply need to coach with different responses, so we don't need to solve their problems for them for the rest of their lives. The following are examples of such a shift:

When they don’t understand the directions instead of saying, “Let me read them for you,” consider saying, “Try reading them aloud several times and change they way you read them each time.”

When they don’t know what a word means in a question or a sentence, instead of defining the word, ask them, “What do you think the word means?” or “How could you figure out what the word means?” Most of the time, children know exactly what to do if given time to think about ways they can uncover the meaning.

When they get frustrated with their work, instead of trying to help them solve the problem, suggest they take a break, go for a walk, take a bike ride, or take a mindful moment of deep breathing. This brief rest will help them have time to access the answers themselves. Little shifts like these will help them learn how to tap into their own ability to solve problems.

“Homework Solutions for Weary Students and Their Parents” offers the language parents and teachers can use to empower their children. Click here to get it today.


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