But Why?

Two parts of my world have officially collided.  One is the professional work of coalition building/ substance abuse prevention/ logic modeling/ project planning.  The other is the work of mothering a 2-and-a-half year old.  On the professional side, I found myself once again leading a community coalition through the process of carefully articulating the challenges that exist in their community in order to address them.  How do I help them specify the challenges? This time I used a CADCA process for identifying local conditions.  Once a community has identified a particular substance that’s being misused, the facilitator asks “but why?”  Once they’ve answered the question, you follow up with “but why here?” to get to help the group articulate the local conditions that might be contributing to the problem and that you might actually have the power to change.  It works.

I finished the meeting and headed home to say goodnight to my daughter.  I told her that no, I couldn’t read her another story and she had to go to sleep.  She asked me “why?”.  I told her it was getting dark and it was already late at night and she asked me “but why?”  As I started to answer, I realized that she’s using my own probing technique to find something that’s specific enough that she might actually have the power to change.  

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