It helps to continually remind ourselves that our purpose in asking open and honest questions is not to show what good problem-solvers we are, but simply to support another person in listening to his or her inner wisdom.
—Parker Palmer (paraphrased)
Asking Open & Honest Questions
by Jeanne Strong
Learning to respond to others with honest, open questions instead of counsel, corrections, advice, etc. can be a life-altering practice. With such questions, as Parker Palmer says, we help “hear each other into deeper speech”—a speech that might reveal a turning point in a life, an intuition about one’s health, or an insight into life’s purpose. For ourselves, the practice frees us from having to know “the answer” or solve “the problem.” It allows us to relax into our own humanity and the pleasure that comes from being connected to another.
But what is an open and honest question? The best definition is that the asker could not possibly anticipate the answer to it. So give it a try in your circles, in your marriage, with your friends and family and comment below on what you’ve discovered.
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