Do Tell, Don’t Ask Why
I just had one of those uncomfortable moments with one of my adult children. I asked about doing something that concerned his family, got a negative, nonverbal reaction, and because of time, we didn’t get it figured out. All day long, my mind has been exploring reasons why my request elicited that kind of response.
Our brains are wired to want to understand “why.” We long for a reason that makes sense to us.
The problem? What makes sense to us comes out of our own perspective, our filter, our values. The reason that makes most sense to me comes out of the story I’ve been telling myself, the story I’ve stitched together along the way to make sense out of other events.
I pushed myself today and came up with at least a half a dozen reasons why I could have received the response that I did. Still, which response do I think is most likely? It’s the one most closely tied to my own story.
I long to understand why, and then be able to defend my stance. But here’s the thing. I never shared with my son the reason I was asking. I didn’t share my “why,” but I wanted his. If I’d shared my “why,” he would have had a chance to respond to that instead. I didn’t give him that opportunity.
Sharing “why” has so many benefits and few drawbacks. Here are some reasons to tell “why.”