“Children are the future of this country.” (a platitude of the age)
Want to make that reality? Here is a good checklist for parents to follow:
- Send your kids to the best schools
- Outfit them with the best gear
- Make them finish their homework
- Cheer them on as they progress through their academic careers.
Viola! Great job.
With a high degree of certainty, you will produce a finely educated drone who will join the ranks of “automatic information processing” sponges across the world.
The vacuum of actionable knowledge created is a testament to the trend of teaching kids how to be information gluttons. This points directly to our technological connections with social media and traditional news media outlets adjacent to the educational process.
You and your child can find vast amounts of information on local, regional, and world matters with a click or swipe of the finger- in seconds.
This is good. What is not so great is an abscence of critical examination on the merit of such information.
Add this to the checklist:
5. Teach your kids critical thinking skills
The long term success of a social organization lay in its capacity to disseminate, discern, & digest information related to the world around it and then do something positive and creative with it. This said, never has it been more challenging for folks to keep abreast of issues and actually have the time to evaluate and relate the information to the quality and condition of their own lives.
With so much information available from an endless supply of authors, critics, and salesfolk, where do we look for a straight story? How can you know what to pay attention to? What is important to me & my family? Who can I trust to tell the truth? Why are there so many commercials on my webpage? When can my child begin to support me so that I can take life easy? (ha, got ya on that one) There are no universal answers to these questions.
Start by examining your local paper and news stations. Get to know their editorial staff on some level. Get a roster of your state officials, countys’ board of supervisors, and city councils. Know them.
The task before you is to provide a platform for your children that will foster the habit of critical thinking. You must give them an anchor point from which to judge the quality, integrity, importance, and meaning of what they read and hear, as well as a hard look at understanding the adjenda of who is behind the messages.
In the sound and video byte universe of internet media, we need filters of caution and reason. Caveat emptor – buyer beware.
Political platitudes are an common form of the “sound byte” communication. The underlying job in salemenship is to keep a person off balance, just enough, so they don’t ask the seller too many questions. A tactful salesperson will bounce the ball back to the client repeatedly by asking them questions- or by making statements that are difficult to disagree with, thereby disarming objections. Note: this is the nature of platitudes.
Guard your family from the ambiguous (and potentially untrustworthy) nature of platitudes by training them to ask the right questions. Stop, think and take a critical look at what your civic and private leaders are saying (and doing). Dig a little deeper and you’ll be holding folks accountable to the same standards you apply to your kids.
Trust but verify! (Russian proverb)