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What If We Change the Question?

“Education is sometimes wasted on the young, because we don’t know what we’re interested in.”—P!nk

The right question or questions can make or break us. Sometimes we need to be asked the right question at the right time.

The right question at the wrong time can be damaging or at least set us back a few steps. Maybe a few extra steps if that wrong-timed question is asked of a young person. I think it’s one of society’s setups we’ve bought into. What happens when we ask a high school youth, “What are your plans after you graduate?” Even if we don’t go as far as to say, “plans for college,” for many it’s implied, and they feel they have to have or come up with a legit answer for us.

How about a college student when we ask, “What are your plans after you graduate?” They stress to find the right answer so they can fit into the societal norms we’ve created: Graduate, find the perfect job, and begin paying off student loans and build your life in the “real world.”

What if we ask those questions at the wrong time? Could it set someone on the wrong path or on the right path at the wrong time? What if a high schooler isn’t ready to head off to a four-year college and instead should be going to a technical school? Or maybe a gap year would be helpful to some.

Let’s not forget our college student. What if they’re not sure about the career they’ve been studying for or their next step at all? Asking the right question at the right time can help them find the “what’s next” beyond their formal education. So, let’s focus on the questions and the timing.

What if we changed the way we asked the questions? Instead we could ask:

  1. What are your values?

  2. What are your life experiences?

  3. How are you wired?

When we ask these three questions and look at the answers together, where they intersect, we can help the student (or anyone) paint a better picture of maybe what they should do and when. Asking the right question at the right time helps ensure education and time are not wasted in the wrong area. When we are equipped with more answers, we’re better prepared to identify and take our next steps during transitions. Let’s begin with these questions so we can move to the “what’s next” question, and the person we’re trying to help can be equipped with the answers they need.

If you’re a parent of or know a youth or young adult, one of the best investments you can make in their future is helping them to be equipped to answer the right questions at the right time. One way we’re helping is our Crew Club—providing coaching to youth and young adults during some of the most important times to get the questions right. If we can add value you to you or someone you know, we’re here to help!

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