Have you ever needed to brain storm for a project weather it be part of a business, group, organization or even a personal one that just seems to be stuck for any really good solutions? Well, if you have kids that are school age or know some, your answers may be right before you.

Let me share my experience: In my neighborhood we have a small independent Christian school. As a community we were looking to attract more students to our elementary school and particularly for our brand new high school. We were all talking about marketing, recruiting, starting a daycare and so on. We hoped that by growing our high school our graduates would want to continue in our Christian school rather than head off to the big new shiny public high school down the road.

So, one Sunday morning as I struggled to be inspired to think up a Sunday school project that I could do last minute, I decided I would create a short survey about our school and pole the kids themselves. This turned out to be my best idea by far! (Even though I got a talking to because I wasn't keeping to the Sunday school theme).

The kids were few in numbers that day, representing grades 4 through 7, when I presented my survey and they were totally into it! I had a total of 4 questions, but I only needed 2 to get the information I needed and this was:

1. List 3 things you like best about your school.
2. List 3 things you would change if you could.

I asked for their permission to use their suggestions and share them, and that their comments would be ‘anonymous’ (we discussed the meaning of this word first) Well, those kids came to life! They absolutely loved being asked for their opinions without judgment, only complete interest. I just kept asking questions as we discussed their answers and I took lots of notes. I was so impressed with their maturity and complete honesty. Even when they made derogative comments about a couple of the teachers it was not malicious, only honest and they followed these comments with ones of their good qualities too! They had real frustrations, but with each frustration they had a solution and they were good! Who better to report on what needs to be improved than the ones who spend the most time there!

Later, when I asked my 15 year old son about our new high school and what he thought would need to change for kids his age to want to go, I was stunned and impressed by his answers. Once again, when I put the grown up role aside and asked one on one heart to heart, I got no attitude, only mature, insightful, honest answers.

What a revelation! I now continue to use this at home when we have conflicts, but only when we are calm and have a chance for a heart to heart. The result is our relationships have improved. I continue to ask for advice too, it gives them a boost of self-esteem and gives me a break from the authority role temporarily.
So even when you’re faced with a situation that you don’t think a kid would know anything about, briefly fill them in (using your parental discretion of course) and ask for their opinion, you may find a solution in their answers or at the very least, you will have spent some great one on one time with your child.

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