Here’s a play-by-play of the conversation that lots of fencers have when they get home from fencing practice.
“How was fencing class?”
“Great! Make sure you put your fencing bag in the hall closet.”
It’s a functional conversation for sure, and it gets the job done. The thing is, it’s not bringing anything new, nor is it really enriching what we’ve already got. It’s not that the fencing parent here doesn’t care what went on in class, and it’s not as if the child doesn’t have anything more to say, it’s just that life is busy and we get into routines that get us through.
What we want with our kids is more than just those one word answers. We are looking for engagement, because they need it and so do we. Making that relationship with our kids deeper and more meaningful has to be built each and every day. Working on the casual communication that we have with each other is one way to do that.
Author Glennon Doyle gives us some awesome insight into this. “If you don’t want throw away answers, you can’t ask throw away questions.”
To make this easier for fencing parents, we’ve put together fifty one questions to ask your fencer that will get you and them both talking.
Examples of Questions to ask (divided to groups)
- What was the best part of your fencing class?
- What drained you about fencing today?
- What was a success that you had in class today?
- What energized you from your class?
- What did you struggle with in fencing class?
- Did your coach teach you anything interesting?
- What was the last funny thing that happened in fencing class?
- Did you get frustrated with anyone at class today? What did they do to make you frustrated?
- Were there times that you felt proud of yourself at the club today?
- Who did you fence against today?
- Did you win any of your practice matches?
- Did any of your fencing classmates do anything funny?
- Can you show me something that you learned today?
- If you switched places with your coach, what’s something you’d teach to your classmates in the next class?
- What’s your least favorite part of the club building? What’s your favorite part?
- Did you help anyone in your fencing class today?
- Who in your class would make the best fencing coach?
- What’s the hardest thing about being a fencer?
- What’s something you want to do in fencing but haven’t gotten to do yet?
- If you had a camera in fencing class, what’s one picture you would have taken today?
- If you could create your own fencing club, what would it look like?
- What five words do you think most describe you as a fencer?
Let’s look at what happens in private lessons too, because those have slightly different dimensions than fencing classes.
- What’s something that you’re going to ask your coach next time?
- How did you feel appreciated in your lesson today?
- Did you think that anything was too easy or too hard?
- When is the next time you’ll connect with your coach?
- Rate your lesson on a scale of one to ten.
- What’s one thing from your lesson that you’re excited about incorporating into your fencing?
- What questions did you ask your coach today?
- What’s something you want your coach to teach you that they haven’t yet?
- What’s one thing your coach said that you’ll remember most?
Some of these questions are suited to fencing competitions too, because we can so easily get into that same kind of rut that we do with our fencing classes, when we fully return to the competitions:
- If you could do any part of the competition over again, what would it be?
- If you could guarantee one thing for the next fencing competition, what would it be?
- What’s the biggest difference between competitions this season and last season?
- How were you brave in this competition?
- Do you feel prepared for the next fencing tournament?
- Is there anything on your mind about this competition that you’d like to talk about?
- What kind of fencer were you today?
- Tell me your top two things from the tournament.
- Did you fence anyone that you haven’t fenced before?
- What was the most exciting moment of the tournament?
- What’s one thing that you did today that would make your coach proud of you?
Online fencing classes have become a reality for just about everyone. It can be more challenging to engage with our kids about those classes because they are happening right in our own home. It’s still helpful to connect with your kids about online classes though, as this fends off isolation and increases their feeling of belonging.
- What made you smile in your online fencing class?
- Were you interrupted at all, either from technical issues or something else?
- What was the peak of your class today? What was the pit?
- What is something that surprised you in class today?
- What’s the hardest thing about fencing in online lessons?
- What are you looking forward to in the next online class?
- Of all the things you’re learning in online fencing class, what’s the one that you think will be most useful in a live tournament?
- Tell me something about fencing that you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
- How were you able to show creativity in your online fencing class?
Every day brings something new to life, but when we get into the rhythm of parenting we can sometimes get into a rut. One way that we can break out of that rut is to start asking new questions. This goes for fencing classes, private lessons, competitions, open fencing, and even home fencing practice. Think of what we’ve presented here as a launchpad for learning more about your child’s fencing, and also as a launching pad for your child’s engagement in fencing. It’s all about creating a dialogue that makes everyone happier and more successful!