Let's Walk Together in Troubling TimesOct 06, 2023
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a song of hope from Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel, was written shortly before the end of World War II (Duddleston, 2021). Still today, the world seems rather stormy, and it can be pretty hard to keep our chins up high.
When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone!
You’ll never walk alone.
(Rogers and Hammerstein, 1945)
It is uplifting to remember that we have powerful resources at our fingertips to help create a brighter world and better relationships: we have the two practices of Conversations Worth Having…and we have each other.
During this week’s Kickstarters session, a participant shared that he doesn’t know how to walk with his adult child who is in an abusive relationship. The supportive group walked with him through the process of creating a positive frame and generative questions to manage this challenging situation.
Name it: I don’t know how to walk with my adult child who is in an abusive relationship.
Flip it: I do know how to walk with my adult child who is in an abusive relationship.
Frame it: I am confident in how I support my adult child who feels loved and supported no matter the choices they make.
Other Suggested Frames:
- I am available to my child as a listener and helpful resource.
- I feel open to help my child consider options in their best interest.
- I feel I am growing closer to my child all the time.
Once the frame was in place, the group created generative questions that could create a conversation worth having, one in which everyone would want to participate.
Questions for Self
- What am I not seeing in the situation?
- What mantra could I repeat to myself when frustrated with the situation with my child’s partner?
- How can I approach this in a non-judgmental way?
- What happens if I am just present and do not offer advice?
- How might I be more present to offer my love?
- How can I get support and resources?
- Who else might be able to help me see possibilities I don’t?
- When my child was younger, how did I support them well?
- In what ways have I empowered my child to ask for what they need?
- In what ways have I been able to stay close but not too close, with my child?
- How has my child related to me in the past when discussing their partner? Are they looking for advice or someone to listen?
- What language am I using with my adult child when talking about their relationship?
- Does my child know how I feel? If so, do I need to continue to repeat my position/view?
- When have I seen the joy in my child in this current relationship?
- How might I engage with my child’s partner in a constructive way?
- What was my initial impression of my child’s partner?
Questions for the Adult Child
- How can I support you?
- What do you need?
- What about your relationship brings you joy? What keeps you in the relationship?
- What are you doing to keep yourself safe, resilient, knowing you are loved, valued, and worthy of love?
- What do you think your partner needs to feel loved and safe?
When confronted with relationship challenges, you can waste time and energy having conversations that focus on what’s wrong and spiral down, or you can use positive framing and generative questions to build connection, strengthen relationships and generate possibilities for a future that works for everybody (Stavros and Torres, 2022). You never need to walk alone, the Monday Kickstarters group is always here to walk with you. Connect with us [email protected]
This topic came from our Fall 2023 Monday Kickstarters series, working sessions to figure out how to have a conversation worth having when faced with a tough situation, challenge, or problem on leadership or performance. Do you have a tough situation you’d like reframing? Join us on October 2nd for Monday Kickstarters. Register at The Center for Appreciative Inquiry or at Conversations Worth Having.
Shared by: Sylvette Wake, who is a certified Conversations Worth Having and Strategic Conversations Facilitator. Her diverse background includes training emerging leaders in India, working with non-profit start-ups and teaching sailing for the U.S. Army in West Berlin, Germany. What floats her boat the most? That ‘ah-ha’ moment when clients discover a world of endless possibilities for personal growth.
Duddleston, M. (2021, January 7). The story behind Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved song of hope—"You'll Never Walk Alone". WRTI. https://www.wrti.org/arts-desk/2021-01-07/the-story-behind-rodgers-and-hammersteins-beloved-song-of-hope-youll-never-walk-alone
Gerry Pacemakers. (2013, January 17). Gerry and the Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone (Official Video). You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV5_LQArLa0
Hammerstein, O., & Rodgers, R. (n.d). You’ll Never Walk Alone. R&H. https://rodgersandhammerstein.com/song/carousel/youll-never-walk-alone/
Stavros, J., & Torres, C. (2022). Conversations worth having. Using appreciative inquiry to fuel productive and meaningful engagement. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.