UNDERSTAND THE REASON
  • Knowing why it is I am doing what I am doing
  • Recognizing how the interaction of underlying factors and assumptions impacts our work
  • Asking questions to clarify “the why” beneath a request

COMMENTARY
My two year old just started responding to everything we say with "why?". The first hour it was funny.  Now I find myself constantly taking 1-15 deep breaths to calm myself before I respond. Have you ever heard of water torture? In the 16th century, this torture is described by Hippolytus de Marsiliis as a method that was supposed to drive its victim insane with the stress of water dripping on a part of the forehead for a very long time. A toddler must have been the inspiration for this.
 
With that being said, I believe this is actually a "phase" that needs to be cultivated into a healthy practice.  Asking "why" is an important practice because a lot of us forget to do it. Or worse, we are told to stop asking "why". Understanding the reason behind any action or statement made is a GuideMark that needs to be encouraged and celebrated. Of course, knowing the reason why does not always equate to agreement or happiness with the reason. I understand the reason why I shouldn't eat a whole sleeve of Oreo's. My pants won't fit.  Understanding that reason doesn't make me feel better about not eating those Oreo's. A more weighty example: I fully understand and agree with that I should not be around my grandparents too much right now due to the pandemic. I know that I am protecting them when I avoid being around them physically, but I miss seeing and hugging them. This is an aspect of Understanding the Reason that is important to keep in mind:  how people respond to the "why" will vary. It takes courage to fully explain a rationale behind whatever it is you are wanting to accomplish because not everyone will agree with your explanation.  
 
I want to raise my children to ask questions. I also want to raise them to have the courage to stand behind their rationale when they make decisions. These are great goals to have as a parent but I also realized that I need to practice what I teach. It's one thing to say "I will always ask why" or "I will always explain my reasoning behind what I am wanting to do" but it’s a whole different animal to actually do that. I like to tell my toddler that we always wash our hands after we use the restroom because we want to have clean hands. I tell her that she has to do something with the reason why in the same breath. Since she will automatically respond with "why" anyway, I repeat the same reasoning (we want to have clean hands). Taking that same approach to our peers and/or other adults, I have begun to give the reasoning in the same sentence that I give the request. Most of us do this without realizing it. "Can you send me my receipt via email, I always lose my paper receipts". As silly as that example is, we tend to give our reasoning for minor things but when it comes to more important issues, some of us forget to give a reason behind the request. Making a conscience effort to give a reason along with the request will help us train our brains to do so with weightier requests. Such as wearing a mask during a pandemic.  

While being bombarded by a toddler machine gunning you with "why" all day is far from a pleasant experience, we should pause to remember that a curious mind is becoming rarer. I say "we" when I mean "I". I should remember that she is at an impressionable age that if I squash her asking questions, I am losing out on raising her to be curious. Asking "why" and being able to explain the "why" needs to be a discipline that is embraced, not avoided.
 
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Key words and phrases
Comprehend the information; Insight into the circumstance; Discern the meaning; Realize the importance; Grasp the significance; Perceive the implications; Make sense of the facts; Realize the situation

Opposite terms
Ignorance; Lack of understanding; Failure to comprehend; Miss the point

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