The Why’s Behind Your Why’s (March, 2024)

One of the unfortunate outcomes of today’s uber connected world is the unreal portrayal of people’s life. For instance, if you visit any social media platform, you will feel that everyone is happy, affluent, and having more fun than you. That fake representation can impact everyone but is quite detrimental for kids who are trying to identify their life goals. Not being able to see the fakeness, they would try to chase those obscure goals. Instead of focusing on their own strengths, they would rather look outwards, which would make them feel low of themselves.

This year we have undertaken a short yet critically important exercise for kids to identify their strengths and unique strong points. It is a framework that aims to not only help kids become aware of their true nature but also promise several intangibles: boost confidence, increase self-awareness, and help them focus on their own development. We are on the part 2 of that exercise: focus on the “why’s” behind your “why’s” (or The Reasons behind Your Reasons). If you missed the part 1, please finish that assignment first. Bypassing that assignment will weaken the outcome you wish to extract from this exercise.

Last month, kids were given seven “What’s” and “Why’s”. The What covered what they like, and the Why covered the reasons behind their likings. This month, we will go in the details of why they picked their whys (reasons).

As such, the lists kids presented last month were a great start. The reasons (why’s) were also insightful. Now, we need them to go a few layers deep to truly understand their core values, desires, and motivations.

Let’s understand that aspect with an example. Say, if a kid stated that they would play cricket in their free time (as their “what” answer) and the reason (the “Why”) for doing so was that it made them feel good, it is now time to understand that reason in more details. Let’s ask them now why playing cricket makes them feel good: is it spending time with their friends, the competitive nature, the physical factor, or the fun factor of the game.

Peeling another layer, if your kid says that it is the “time with friends”, would they consider engaging in other group activities – and why? If it is the “competitive nature”, would they also consider other games including strategy ones – and why? If it is “physical factor” that excites them, would they also consider activities that make them physically active – and why? And, if it is “fun-factor” of the game, what other fun-filled activities would they consider – and why?

From the above example, you can see, our true nature is buried deep under our simple acts and statements. We need to dig several layers to understand ourselves. A note to the parents of very young kids: please engage with your kids in understanding the exercise (not directing).

Dear Kids,

Below is the exercise you will undertake for this month’s assignment. First, please pick the reasons (Why’s) from the last month’s assignment, and then take each of those reasons through the following steps:

Ask Yourself “Why?” Five Times

  • It is a classic technique to peel back layers.
  • E.g., why do you like cricket? Why do you like playing with friends?
  • Keep going until you start to see a pattern/core value.

Consider Alternatives

  • For each answer, think if an alternate exists.
  • For instance, if you answered cricket as a preferred game, will you also consider playing games other than cricket?

Understand How Your Decisions Make You Feel

  • Take a note of your feeling.
  • For instance, when you pick an alternate option, does it make you feel better or worse?

After each of the seven reasons, please jot down the “why” [from the last month assignment], and then explain the deeper reasons behind those reasons.

We are very excited to be with you in this self-discovery journey and looking forward to the insights you share. Make us proud!


Harsh Mendiratta