The Right Question to Ask


I have to admit, my two-year-old is driving me nuts these days. I’m ready to check myself into a place that has pretty, white, padded walls and white jackets that buckle in the back. Admittedly, I should have the upper-hand over my own son, but currently, I most certainly do not. And it’s all because of three little letters: W-H-Y. Yes, that’s right, we’ve entered the “Why?” stage of life. 

Me: “Don’t run with that sucker in your mouth.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because I said so.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because it’s dangerous.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because you might get hurt.”

Son #2: “Why?”

It’s at that time that I, feeling completely defeated, exit the room and leave him running around with his sucker still in his mouth.

Through all of the “Why?”s, I’m reminded of a valuable lesson: That’s exactly the type of questioning we need to be asking when we’re given a diagnosis.

Can you imagine how that would change our outlook on our conditions and diagnoses if we started acting like a two-year-old?

Health Practitioner: “John you have a bulging disc in your lumbar vertebrae. L4/L5 to be exact.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Well…because the disc at L4/L5 is pushing out against your spinal cord.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Um…because there’s too much pressure on that disc.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Because the vertebrae have collapsed together.”

Me: “Why? I mean…what caused it? Why did it happen at L4/L5 and not another disc?”

See where I’m going with this? Notice how just three little letters completely change the outlook and the conversation? Instead of getting a diagnosis and accepting it as truth, asking “Why?” begins a conversation that will get closer and closer to the root cause

What if our health practitioner had said the following: “John, you have a bulging disc in your lumbar spine. L4/L5 to be exact. Because I said so.” We would never accept that answer if they actually said those words. Sounds silly when I put it that way, doesn’t it? However, if we fail to ask “Why?,” we are essentially telling our health pracitioners that “Because I said so” is an acceptable answer.

According to my son it’s not an acceptable answer, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.

QUESTION: What condition or diagnosis do you need to ask more questions about?

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