Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, “I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof…” They won’t be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them “I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs.” Then they exclaim, “What a pretty house!”…That’s the way they are. You must not hold it against them. Children should be very understanding of grown-ups.
— The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
So Children, how do you master the art of Grown-up relationships one conversation at a time?
It starts with understanding and acceptance. Many grown-ups hold tension in their bodies and tend to stay stuck in their comfort zones. Conversations can be quite dull because their childlike wonder has become stiff like old chewing gum stuck to a desk.
First, of course, Ground yourself, cultivate your steadiness, root your feet on the ground and really listen to them. This takes practice…lots of practice. Breathe and expand and open your body to help open you up to this possibility. You’ll tend to get distracted, look away, run away or fall asleep. Stay with it. Persistence and patience is key to mastery.
Sprinkled throughout every day are hidden opportunities to help transform them from the ordinary, routine, and mundane expected conversations. Resist the urge to answer with “good” “OK” or an eye roll. Instead, give them what they want and then give them what they need. Answer their questions with respect: “I had a good day.” “I took 3 quizzes.”
Then enhance with your own personal imaginative gift, ” The hallways smelled of homemade pickles and the principal’s office smelled of licorice.”
(respectful answer) “My friend has three brothers”
(Imaginative gift) “They all love to play sardines, but only one of them snorts when they laugh.”
Speak to their highest childlike wonder to reveal the extraordinary, the astonishing and the unexpected!
Ask imaginative questions to surprise and delight.
What made you uncomfortable today? Did you smell anything sweet? weird? Did any clients speak in a little girl voice? How much does the couch weigh? What color was your breakfast?
Continue to serve the grown-ups in your life. There are always more conversations. There’s always more openings. When you help each other transform from the comfort of mundane conversation to lively interactive and extraordinary dialog…and then share that with others, you contribute to elevating the world. GO make a difference. Have that conversation.
Let us know how it goes.