The Tao of Two Year Olds
There are times when it is okay to behave like a two year old. I had an epiphany about this at church recently, which was either redundant or exceptionally contextual. While working with toddlers in Children’s Ministry, one of my charges would respond to every direction / suggestion / pleading with, “why?.” Why? Why? Why? What was obvious to me was not obvious to this kid and it took a great deal of animated conversation for us to come together on the why.
This happens a lot in our work. Clients want to do something. We ask, why? Or, more pointedly, what is it, exactly, that you are trying to accomplish?
Asking and unpacking all the elements of what you are trying to accomplish has a way of concentrating the mind, clearing the extraneous and getting everyone in the discussion on the same page. It seems simple, but it is easy to forget and then you find yourself well down a path in a marketing tactic, communication outreach, some other initiative – even an argument – without the astringent that the answer to what we are trying to accomplish provides.
Look to your inner toddler. Ask the golden question. What am I trying to accomplish? Does it drive an existing plan? Is it consistent with well-stated goals? To whom does it matter? What are its implications? What is required? I am going to keep asking it. And next time in Children’s Ministry, I’m going to see if I can get that kid to reframe his question. Don’t ask me why. Ask me what I am trying to accomplish?