Recently, I visited the Juvenile detention center in Port Harcourt as it has been my way of reaching out to the inmates on a monthly bases. After showing them a video which I intended to discuss some key lessons learnt from the video with them, I observed that there was a new face among them that looked very gloomy. So on a second thought I decided to focus my attention on her by stimulating conversation with her in the midst of other inmates.
Me: My dear what is your name?
Inmate: Are you talking to me? (she asked politely)
Me: yes of course, I have not met you before and I would like to meet you.
Inmate: my name is Naomi
Me: Naomi, nice to meet you. what do you want to become in future? (I like asking adolescents this question in order to access their major goal. Although some may respond in a rather pretentious manner)
Inmate: I would like to be a pharmacist.
Me: why do you want to be a pharmacist? i asked with all sense of curiousity
Inmate: Because I want to know more about drugs and what makes them powerful.
Trust me I didn’t stop there, as I asked her other pertinent questions like what are you required to do in order to become a pharmacist and what have you done in this regard?
I will not bore you with all that transpired during that visitation, but at the end of my session with the inmates that day, among those that signified interest to have a one-on-one chat with me was Naomi. Of course I knew at the end of our conversation i have succeeded in pointing her to her CORE, and ignited her hope and aspiration beyond the walls of her cell.
In the course of my conversation with these inmates, one of them wanted me to ask Naomi what actually brought her to detention. But that question is not part of my agenda. My purpose is to make Juveniles look beyond their challenges with vices and to harness their creative reasoning abilities, where new realities are popping up, rather than dwell on the guilt and mistakes of the past.
My toastmasters group has an event titled, “The Leadership Challenge and the Power of Questions.”
I agree with their preamble on why asking the right questions can be so crucial;
“Perhaps few things have such power to cause seismic mental shifts — the type that precedes “aha!” moments – like well thought-out, well-crafted, probing questions.
Questions make conversations more productive, spur learning and exchange of ideas, build rapport and trust, mitigate risk and unlock value. Questions create new realities and engender paradigm-shattering perspectives because they make us see situations from new angles.
What if you had an opportunity to ‘fire’ a hardball, put a leader on the edge, and ask hard-hitting questions on leadership in an optimal way? What if you could glean deep wisdom, honest answers, workable solutions and transforming anecdotes from people who have played significantly in the leadership space?”
And so I ask SI4DEVERS, what will your question be?