The ASK Framework- Going Back to School
Updated: Nov 18
Masks or no masks. Vaccine or no vaccine. Generalized science or personal science?
These are conversations that have been going on for a long time now and clarity is still a very
personal decision. Which makes conversations with people you do not know full of surprises.
So how do you have better conversations with people you do know – like your own family?
As schools go back in person, work becomes hybrid, and loneliness fatigue becomes a very real thing, how do you get to the heart of each person’s day to know how to support them in this complex time?
You ASK better questions.
Whenever I get to speak on this topic, there are always attendees with a revelation of how what I offer will work beautifully in homes everywhere. And now is a perfect time to share examples. If you have kids attending school, whether early to advanced education – or even nieces or nephews, grandchildren, and foster children still able to find families to host them – now is the time to have better conversations – because you may learn something you never knew and love what you learn.
For example- when a young person comes home from a day of learning, you’d love to know:
what got them excited
what was challenging
what do they never want to do again
what made them think of their future
Without asking, you may never find out. So you ask, ‘How was your day?” expecting all the answers to those questions and all you get is, “I don’t know.” So anticlimactic. So distanced. So disappointing. Consider this: learning is hard, and they are exhausted! So their deflective tendencies are for self- preservation. Plus, questions need to be age friendly.
Young kids may need to know ahead of time what they get to talk about, so having a list of topics they can choose from helps them have better conversations with you.
Elementary and Middle school aged kids need a reprieve from judgement as that is becoming prominent in their daily school life. Asking questions out of curiosity and being willing to listen without offering to fix anything will help build their willingness.
Older aged kids and young adults want to be heard without judgement as well. To do that – setting up the context, asking for one thing, and asking how it affects them with gaining an example of how their experiences matter to them will help build this rapport.
Keep this in mind – they are tired of navigating conversations with unknown outcomes. So set them up for success. Be specific. Ask for the most important perspective. And ask for how they experienced that.
Meaning: Context * One Thing * Example is a great place to start.
Context: I know you’re tired after a full day of school but I’d love to ask you a question about your day.
One thing: What was the most exciting thing you got to learn today?
Example: Once you heard that, how did it make you think differently?
This is just an example of what to ask, but get creative, get specific, and get curious. The best
conversationalist asks questions that make people reveal fun things they hadn’t thought of beforehand. It drives great conversations without judgement. Remember, your job as an established adult is to help launch functional adults into tomorrow’s world.