There are a number of ideas that weave and work together in life.

• Our sense of connection in a relationship is determined by the kinds of conversations that we have together.

• Asking different questions will produce different conversations.

• Listening and attention allow people to speak authentically and creatively.

• We can change the pattern of our conversations and thereby the quality of our relationships.

Here’s a recent note from a young mother:

After reading your book, I’ve made more of a conscious effort to be a better listener at home and a better communicator. It was awkward and a little forced at first, but now it is becoming habitual and it feels great!

My 3-year-old and 5-year-old boys often ask me, “Can we do questions again?” They love it when I ask them life questions, and I love seeing their minds churn and hearing their responses (sometimes silly, sometimes profound). They like to ask me questions, too, and talking is actually more difficult than listening for me. I’m the quiet type, but effectively voicing my thoughts and ideas is becoming a little less uncomfortable as I begin to see some of the benefits.

I find myself having so many great conversations with my kids and learning from them. They’re only 10 months, 3, and 5 so I’m thankful I was made aware of these healthy habits now while they’re young. I’ve seen such a positive impact on my relationship with my kids and with my husband and in the way we all live together. We appreciate, understand, and respect each other more than ever before. The same goes for work and in other relationships in my life. Thank you!


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. —Rita Mae Brown



Artist: Maurizio Nannucci. Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice.

P.S. In our next blog, I’ll provide some life questions. For now, it’s probably best that you figure that out for yourself so that you are not overly influenced or trapped by what I might offer. And of course, if you have some questions that have created wonderful sharing and thinking by your children, we’d love to know what they are!

Paul Axtell is author of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the relationship you want with the most important people in your life. He and his wife, Cindy, live in Minneapolis and love sharing time and conversations with their 13 grandchildren.