Monday, May 21, 2012

What To Think OR How To Think?

It seems to me that many young adults are graduating college without a clue about how to think for themselves.  They can be very opinionated, but those opinions are not necessarily their own.  From kindergarten until under graduate degrees are distributed our children should be taught how to think for themselves.  They need to know how to take the information available to them and make the best possible decisions or reach the best conclusions. They should be able to explain why they make the decisions they make or form the opinions they hold.   When was that type of teaching replaced with teaching our children and grandchildren what to think, what opinions to hold, and to have little or no regard for civil discourse when differences of opinion are voiced?  Our children and grandchildren are just "short people" who early on are able to make decisions as to whether or not they want to eat, whether or not they want to be held, by whom they want to be held, with which toy they wish to play, etc.  As soon as they have language skills we should give them choices so they learn to make decisions for themselves while we still can protect them from making bad choices. Do we know our children's teachers in grade school or high school well enough to think that we want our children to adopt their beliefs or parrot their opinions?  Do our children have enough self-confidence in college to not just automatically accept a professor's personal opinions or bias as their own?  Have we taught our children how to think for themselves or how to challenge other people's opinions in a civil, respectful manner?  If not, why not?  Debate classes should be offered to all students in order for them to learn how to research points of view which may or may not be their own, defend points of view, and prove their stances on different topics.  When I see the way journalists, politicians, talk show hosts and their guests behave rudely to each other, talk over each other, disrespect each other's right to have different opinions, etc. I wonder how we expect our children to behave differently?  We must watch what comes into our homes from our television sets and ask ourselves if that is how we hope our children will behave when they are adults. If the answer is no then we must do our part not only in teaching them how to think and behave, but we must also be role models for them when they witness our interaction with others with whom we may or may not agree.  

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