December 10, 2007

Developing Your Skeptometer (#32)

One of the most important things our children will need when they leave home and go off into the world is what I like to call a "skeptometer"* - the ability to filter and weigh information without automatically accepting and absorbing it.

It is a task uniquely suited to parents - and a particularly good task for fathers - to help their children develop this skill. It's not hard to find material to consider and discuss. With young children, we talk about commercials and advertising and what the company is trying to sell us. Great literature, newspaper articles, popular movies and televised political debates are all good opportunities for discussion with older children. This generally doesn't require extra planning - often just including your children in things that you're already interested in.

These discussions can also inspire parents to learn more in order to help their children find the answers without arrogance or presumption.

Related Quote:

To train a citizen is to train a critic. The whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards, by which he can judge material and fugitive conditions.
-G.K. Chesterton (All is Grist)

* Note: I have to give credit to my brother-in-law John for introducing me to this term in the first place.

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