# Day 318 (On asking better questions)

So what is ‘real human conversation?’ Ursula K.Le Guin describes the power and magic of real human conversation thus,
“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it.”
As a mother trying to instill some social graces into our ten year old son, i once had a talk with him about how important it was to learn having polite conversations with the grown ups we often encounter at social gatherings. With the blunt honesty of a child he retorted, “What’s there to learn? All people ask are three or four questions ~ which school do you go to, what class do you study in, what’s your hobby, do you play any games ~ thats it, end of conversation!!” The outburst was both amusing and thought-provoking. Some careful consideration and i realised in a way he was right. Small talk is actually just this—a collection of banal question and answers that do nothing to stimulate and energise the participants. Their relevance lies only in that they are ‘formal-markers’ of starting points; they cannot be the entire experience! He probably didn’t learn much that day from me, but i definitely made a conscious effort thereafter to engage more meaningfully in conversations with others! The secret to a great conversation i have learnt lies both in both listening with empathy and in asking the right kind of questions. To use a quote by the American journalist, Krista Tippet which so succinctly articulates my thoughts on the matter ~
“ If i’ve learned nothing else, i’ve learned this: a question is a powerful thing, a mighty use of words. Questions elicit answers in their likeness. Answers mirror the questions they rise, or fall, to meet. So while a simple question can be precisely what’s needed to drive to the heart of the matter, it’s hard to meet a simplistic question with anything but a simplistic answer. It’s hard to transcend a combative question. But it’s hard to resist a generous question. We all have it in us to formulate questions that invite honesty, dignity and revelation. There is something redemptive and life-giving about asking better questions”


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
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