The WM for Parents & Kids invited us to spend the first two days of our program, practicing techniques of listening and questioning. I guess I was asking for it. (See here a short video of the program)
Me and Nuno Fernandes, my co-mentor on the program, created a shortlist of questions that could be used by each participant and randomly pick one at a time. The first one I chose turned out to be a silver bullet.
– What annoys you the most? I read out loud.
Quickly I shared my findings with my son and waited for something trivial. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable spot in a conversation. He looked at me and recalled an episode from a few months before. I believe he was trying to ask me something, and I was too busy to answer.
The straightforwardness of the 10-year-old walking by my side struck me like lightning. It was refreshing to hear someone say what you mean and mean what you say.
– I don’t like the way you answer me when you are stressed with something. It annoys me. Said, Michael.
I had the feeling of an ice bucket being dropped on my head. I was asked to listen, sincerely, and commit to understanding his point of view.
What he was telling me, was paving the way into a core aspect of any relationship. The quality of our attention and the capacity to be in the moment. To be fully present is also the ultimate challenge of my life, and my youngest son could point it in our first talk.
After a few long seconds, I could only humble myself and reply with full honesty.
– I think you are right, If you were me, what would you answer? I asked.
My reply was probably one of the most significant moments of clarity during the Parents & Kids week-long program. Followed by a quick reply it was challenging at first but definitely liberating.
– It is easy, tell me that you cannot talk right now and you will explain it to me later. But don’t forget to explain it to me then.
I heard his reply and carefully placed it inside my heart. It was not so difficult to do such a thing, I thought. Finally, Michael adds one small note.
– Pay attention to your tone of voice, You voice is really beautiful when you are happy and I love it!
In the coming days, I had the opportunity to “practice” a few times the new approach. It was interesting to see us both smiling every time I managed to deliver my intentional reply. A – good job, daddy! always followed my answer – It made me feel really good and I think it helps us to understand each other better.
If you want, it is not so difficult to improve the relationship with your kids, and it usually starts with listening and questioning. Why don’t you give it a try and go for a walk in the coming days with your son/daughter and ask them a few questions?
If you need help, in the last week of August (24-31) we will hit the road with the second program Parents & Kids of 2019, and we have a few places still available. Send us a message if you would like to join us. In the meantime check the upcoming programs for 2019 and,
🚶Keep walking with me
João Perre Viana
Founder of Walking Mentorship
* Pilgrim – A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey (usually on foot) to a special place.