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Arjuna Nagendran

Doctor,

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What are the best things to teach our own children?

The way in which different communities think of "teaching" when it comes to their own children varies across communities massively from my experience. From those focussed on acadaemic achievment to those focussed on teaching us self-confidence, altruism and the list goes on..

What do you think are the best things parents can teach their children?

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  • Oct 6 2012: Critical thinking. Nothing is more important than teaching children how to think and how to figure things out. This demands a lot of parents and teachers. Teaching critical thinking and logic themselves is not too difficult, but the child will immediately start USING it in their life. If you haven't put any rational thought into the ways you restrict and regulate their life, you will very soon find the student losing all respect for you (which is only appropriate if you haven't bothered to be rationally rigorous with something so severely important as manipulating the freedom of another person). "Because I said so" has never been, and will never be, an adequate answer to any question. Critical thinking and logic, however, opens the entire world to a child.

    Without critical thinking and logic, a child (or adult) is doomed to muddling through life trying to trick themselves into being confident in the things they know. It leaves them guessing and following their gut - some of the best ways to guarantee they will be wrong about everything. Winning an argument or figuring things out seems almost frivolous in our culture. After all, you will be protected from crime, vaccinated against disease, and receive most all of the benefits of the intellectual approach to life that those who came before us were wise enough to create. Knowing how to think, however, is nothing short of a matter of life and death. Thanks to intellectuals, dangerous consequences of irrationality are not close at hand in our society, but living still requires effort. And that effort is wasted when it is not expended rationally. Today the dangers are more personal, and they threaten to leave people depressed, anxious, neurotic, and paranoid - dangers as real as polio or malaria. Critical thought is the toolset that enables anyone, even children, to protect themselves from this. The assurance that anyone can check the correctness of their own thinking is nothing short of life-saving.
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      Oct 7 2012: i agree most of what you said ,and i have some to share with youoh it is a little hurry next time next time i will share .
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      Oct 7 2012: I agree with you that critical thinking is extrremely important. Kids should see their parents doing it by their parents' making their thinking apparent on appropriate issues.

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