The old saying, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” can result in lots of laughter and loads of fun. We are all guilty of embellishing the odd tale to make an average experience into a fabulous one. The one I love the most is when a refined friend of mine and I were waiting for Coles to open one Saturday morning. A few people were milling around too and as the doors opened she grabbed my arm and we went running into the store arms waving and her shouting,” run for the specials.” As I tell this story at dinner parties there are always lots of giggles and rolling of eyes as people know I am making it up.

Young thinkers are also prone to this sort of exaggeration. They tell some great tales to make sure we believe them and just maybe they might get their way. However there is great skill in being able to think carefully, identify what ideas are to be communicated and to deliver our thinking with clarity and precision. This skill is the 9th Habit of Mind; it is one that takes a lot of conscious effort and superior management of our executive function (our capacity to manage our thinking and consequent behaviour).

Here at Thinkers.inq we take particular care to work with our young thinkers to build the skills needed to achieve this Habit of Mind. When we are listening to their fabulous stories we help them strive of accuracy. So instead of accepting comments like, ‘everything is going wrong’ we pause, seek clarification and help the children communicate without generalisations and distortions. This re-organising of thoughts helps build trust, careful clear thinking and offers a support environment for change to occur. The fruit of this Habit of Mind is very satisfied little people. They are able to communicate and negotiate with their peers confidently and when they get ‘stuck’ they know who and how to begin resolving their problem. We still enjoy a good story no worries about that, but the ones that really matter are accessible and accurate and that has the potential to change their world.

Our challenge to you today is to find an opportunity to model great communication to those around you. Be clear, strive for accurate communication, avoid over generalisations, distortions and deletions. In doing this you will offer to others around you a wonderful gift.