Lesson 56: Kids Will Listen If You Speak Using Metaphors

Some parents often try to advice their kids to change but it just would not work. However, when I talked to these "disobedient" kids, they would change slightly better in their attitude and behaviors when they went home. Hence, parents usually said, "Kids will always listen to other people rather than their parents."

"Kids will always listen to other people", is that real?

Even with a few years of experiences in handling kids, it is very very very hard for me to make the kids listen to me. After a few trial and error, I found out that if you use one thing when you speak, the kids will be more open to listen to you regardless of their age.

That one thing, is metaphor.

Metaphor, is to use a known object A to explain another unknown object B. This is an effective way in teaching the kids. For example, there was a kid who asked me, "coach, why must we correct the small mistakes? It doesn't really matter because they look almost the same."

Then, I thought for a while, asking him, "Your name is Raymond, right? Is it ok if people pronounce your name as 'Lemon'? It sounds pretty much the same!"

The kid then said, "NO! How could my name be changed into 'LEMON'? "

"Just like your name, if you pronounce it differently even a little bit, it would become another thing. If you do not correct small mistake, the result will end up to be very different!" When I explained in this way, he did not argue anymore.

Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear (Paul Coelho, Brazilian novelist, the author of The Alchemist). If you want to make sure your kids listen to the things that they want to hear, you must know what are the things that they are interested in. Usually, it is easier to for people to accept the things that they like rather than the things that they do not like. Therefore, sometimes you may use the things that the kids like as an example of metaphor.

For instances, the kid likes to play football but does not like to do homework. An usual mother would say, "Don't play football and you better do your homework!" or, "It is good to do homework, you will get good result. If you don't do your homework, your results will drop." Even if you talk a lot more, the kids will not be able to realize the importance of doing homework.

When you are dealing with this kind of students, you may say, "Before you participate in a football match, what should you do? Yes! Practice! You practice playing football every week without fail, then you play confidently on the day of the match, right? Practices let you prepare in advance, and also let you learn the skills needed for the match. So, doing homework is like football practices. Doing homework everyday is to practice well so that you will know how to answer the exam paper during the exam." The reason sounds the same but when it is being explained using metaphor, the effect is much more better.

Using metaphor effectively will bring an impactful realization in people's mind. Successful speakers too, often used metaphor in explanation, as well as making profound realization. After 12 years of observations in his job, the founder of TED Talk, Chris Anderson, had found out that the speakers who came to TED Talk often used 'metaphor'. For example, bio-technologist, Miss Jennifer Kahn explained CRISPR in this way, "It is as if... you have a word processor to edit DNA. CRISPR allows you to cut and paste genetic information really easily." A simple but easy to understand metaphor to understand the function of CRISPR.

Besides, metaphors always appeared in the Holy Bible. Two thousands years ago, Jesus used metaphors to teach about the truth from God. When he was teaching Peter who was a fisherman, he used fishes and fish net which were familiar to Peter, in order for him to understand the profound meaning of the truth. When he was teaching the farmers, he used plantations as metaphors. Metaphors can be said as the way God teaches people.

Even for now when it comes to the 21st century, using metaphors to teach the children is still very effective. 

If you want to speak well like God, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Son and let people understand easily, you should speak to them using 'the language other people use' and speak to them easily using the 'things that pertain to them' as parables. (Joshua J)


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