Hello, Jill Weisensel here.

The other day I was trying to explain the concept of “when-then” thinking to a 7-year old.

After struggling to translate the skill into something she could understand, I started driving home and witnessed a near-miss bicycle versus car accident. “Whoa, thank God the bicyclist moved,” I thought.

Then it hit me: Somebody moved, and that prevented the accident.

How many accidents or mishaps could be prevented if people would merely move something? That something could be an object, another person, or your own self.

Think about how many cell phones you’ve broken or have had to replace. How many of those accidentally broken phones could have been prevented if they would have just been moved away from the edge of the table? Or if perhaps the person texting on it would have moved away from a door that was abruptly opened?

To prove my point, here’s another real life example:

Last Saturday I was loading my truck to drive to Illinois for a party. I didn’t want to wear dress clothes all day, so I packed them in a bag, and set the bag on the back seat. Now remember, and this is important, that I only packed one outfit.

I then loaded the snacks and appetizers that I was bringing to the party. As soon as I set the bag of snacks (which included a big jar of salsa and queso dip) on top of my bag of dress clothes, I thought to myself, “Oh man, maybe I should move that.”

Now, a true when-then thinker would have packed a second set of clothes just in case something, like salsa, would spill and ruin their clothes for the day. However, by thinking about the outcome first, I was able to move the bag before I left, and tada – crisis averted.

So yesterday I revisited my 7-year old and re-explained the concept of when-then thinking, using the “Maybe I Should Move That” analogy. We turned it into a game, and I made it into a new skill drill.

She loved it, and she started to get really good at thinking through situations and possible outcomes. So if you’re ever struggling to teach when-then thinking to a child, please give this drill a try and let me know the results!

Jill Weisensel
Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor

 

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