The other day I was talking to a friend about a big business decision he’d recently made. He told me he had gone back and forth a hundred times, and he was starting to spin out mentally. Finally, he talked to his wife about the issue and guess what? (His wife had the answer, is what I want to say, but no, that wasn’t it…) He said, “As soon as I heard myself talk it through, I knew what I had to do. My wife didn’t have to say anything. The decision became crystal clear once I heard myself talk.”
That same thing happens to me all the time! Once I was thinking that a neighbor had wronged me and I had it all worked out in my mind that she was turning against me. And as soon as I started talking to somebody about it, I realized, that’s not real. That’s kinda ridiculous, in fact. But I had to hear myself say the words before the truth became clear.
That’s how I like to teach kids about their thoughts. I like to teach them that sometimes, when it’s all in the head, it’s jumbled. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have a real shape yet. But once we share our thoughts, and we hear them spoken, there’s often a new clarity. Once we get clear we can write our thoughts down. And the writing often leads to further clarity. We can do this when we’re thinking about the books we’re reading, or about something we’re writing or about a plan we have.
Sometimes kids are amazed when their talk leads to new ideas or better decisions. I guess, in a way, listening closely and watching thoughts take shape really is an amazing process.