Unsplash.com | Kunish Rezmbeav. | Teach our children

As I look out my window and watch the middle school children on the playground for recess, it isn’t surprising that we develop so many followers in our society and so few leaders. It is clear we teach them to follow. The children come out of the building in a line. They line up on the playground. The teacher blows a whistle when they want them to do an activity and then blows it again to stop them and then the cycle is repeated. There is a fine line between maintaining order and developing a mind conditioned to follow.

This continues in the classroom you have to work on each assignment at the same time as everyone else and if you want to do anything else you’re punished in some way. So doesn’t surprise me that we’re struggling to find moral and ethical leadership in American society today. We train our children not to think, learn to regurgitate the facts we think they need to know on tests and label them as successes or failures based on this capability. So what do we need to do?

Teach our children

  1. Teach them to think and evaluate alternative actions.

    Teaching students factual knowledge is important to their education. But it shouldn’t be the only part. They need to recognize that many problems, issues, and situations they will face in life require them to think and identify alternatives and then judge what’s best for them.
  2. Teach them how to listen actively and communicate.
    The two keys to living in society are listening actively to what you’re hearing. Asking the questions necessary to make sure you understand what is being said before responding. Then you have to think and evaluate whether this makes sense to you. For example, it’s clear when people are marching to Protestant some decide to become looters that not everyone is thinking the same way.

    If someone tells you something and expects you to blindly agree with them, it’s necessary to stop and think to see if it makes sense for you to do this.
  3. Teach them to think in the areas between truth and lie, fact or fiction, and good or bad.
    It would be nice if the truth were always true, facts were always facts to everyone, and good was always the same for all. But unfortunately we each have our own internal compass that tells us what is true for us, what factually makes sense, and what is good. This, of course, makes living our lives more difficult.

    We all learn from many different people, groups, our families, and our peers. But we, as individuals, have to evaluate these inputs, think about the differences and determine what we believe. There is no better example of this than the differing views on getting Covid vaccinations. Is this an individual decision or decision about the safety of society? So back to the first thing we have to spend more time on teaching our children: to think and evaluate.
  4. Teach them about the levels of consequences.
    When solving problems we often jump to the easy solution or fix. We evaluate the consequence of our action—Let’s say removing criminals from society. But we seldom think of the unintended consequences—broken homes, children thrown into poverty, etc. and even third level consequences—how these people we have removed from society reenter and reintegrate within the society.
    Solving problems requires us to identify the obvious consequence but to search for the unintended consequences before we decide what is best.
  5. Teach them what it means to be a member of the human race.
    It’s time we realize that we’re all part of the same human race. It doesn’t matter what the color of our skin is, what our religious beliefs are, or what our politics are. Radical Ideas I know, but in order to survive we’re going to all have to live and work together or we will surely die apart!