When our youngest daughter was four, we were visiting friends out of town. She and their four-year-old were upstairs putting on dress-up clothes. The doorbell rang, and the police officer standing on the front porch explained there had been an emergency call from a child at the residence. Mystified as to what was going on, we asked the girls to explain, and ours said: “Daddy told me if I ever need help to dial 9-1-1. I didn’t know which dress to wear, so I called to ask.”
Fast-forward eight years… our soon-to-be teenager is having some challenges with a couple of girls at her junior high. She asks us what to do, and I say, “Be nice, and eventually they’ll be nice to you.” She tries. Things don’t improve. She seeks a different answer. This time she doesn’t call 911; she e-mails one of the counselors at the camp she attended last summer. Seems that young woman told all the campers: “If you ever need advice, feel free to contact me.”
There is wonderful beauty in my precocious child’s inherent trait to take things at face value. More importantly, she’s unafraid to ask anyone anything. That should serve her well eight years from now when she’s finishing college and starting to look for a job. You’ll be a better leader by utilizing her approach when you’re looking for answers. Ask questions. Then ask some more. I’ve seen it work firsthand.