What if can take you on an amazing adventure. Young children are aware of this secret; they are tapped into the endless possibilities that the phrase, “what if,” has to offer them. Children don’t actually start asking, “what if?” until they grow a bit older, and begin to realize their capabilities.
Kids don’t say, “What if I could fly?” Kids say, “I AM flying.” They take the steps and action to fly. Kids don’t say, “What if I kill the dragon?” They muster up their courage, and then say, “I AM slaying the dragon.”. Kids experiment. They prepare ahead, and trust in themselves to follow through. They learn from their mistakes. Kids know no boundaries until they are told there are boundaries. They don’t feel the need to tie themselves down with mundane limits which we, adults, put upon ourselves. They explore their imaginations, and reach for the sky. In the innocence and wonderment of children, anything is possible.
As children grow older, they ask, “what if?” in a curious way. They understand that questions are how you learn, and with questions, come answers. They use the, “what if?” to figure out their next step, then, they use their imagination to get the rest of the way. They proceed to ask questions such as, “what if?” as it has become a way for them to accomplish a goal- a way to get somewhere.
Children are curious, and it’s in the asking of the questions that they find many ways of getting wherever they are going. “What if I use a blanket to make the roof for the fort? If that doesn’t work, what if I use a sheet instead?” They are able to use both the linear part of their brain, and the right side of their brain, making for optimal performance.
With Halloween around the corner, there are surely many “what ifs” scurrying through our children’s minds: “What if the vampires, ghouls, and zombies come out?” “What if ghosts exist? Will I see one? How can I see one?” “What exactly is a soul, anyway?” This is a good time of year to explore just how vivid your child’s imagination can be, and how creative their solutions are.
What if turns the key that opens the door to possibility. Asking what if promotes using your imagination, helps with problem solving, and is good for finding new solutions once science fair time rolls around.
How can you use what if as a parent or grandparent?
As parents (and grandparents), we have certain expectations of our children. Some of these expectations stem from our own childhood, and how we were raised. Other expectations could be based on remembering your child’s past performance. What if…
If you were to ask yourself, “What if…”
- I let some old, limiting expectations go?
- I experimented with yes instead of no, and watched what happened?
- I asked my children what they might do?
- I thought the sky was the limit, even though I thought I knew the limit to what my children could do?
- I let go of my worry of _______?
- I let my child help with _________?
- I relaxed, and took my child’s lead?
- I trusted that my child had a sense of what might work for his/her own individuality?
Fun What if questions to ask your children:
- What if dogs and cats could talk? What would they say?
- What if God showed up at our dinner table? What would you say to/ask God?
- What if there was no gravity?
- What if you could see angels, fairies, and elves?
- What if everyone in the world were friends with each other, even if they didn’t all think the same way?
- What if all the countries in the world got along with each other?
- What if you had a super-power? What would it be, and why?
Make up what if questions with your children. It’s a great way to open communication channels, to help children think of different solutions, to look at the world in a different way, or just, simply, to have some fun. It can help children be grateful for what they have, or help them choose a new behavior in a difficult situation. Have fun on this Earth-bound adventure, finding the path to new possibilities.
Truly, that is the fun of the Earth-bound adventure: to find the possibilities!