Encouraging your kids to think

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Raising kids is such a daunting task at times. You want to do what’s right and to raise good, strong, moral future adults. There are so many books, magazines, online articles and fellow parents giving advice that it can get quite confusing. That is why I never listened to any of it. For me, raising my kids was something I did on instinct. A trial and error at times but for the most part I just went with what I felt was right. I encouraged their creativity and individualism and taught them to build their own moral compass and follow it down a path that felt right. There have been times that they have followed some upsetting and hurtful routes but in the end their moral compasses led them back home. All of us a little battered and bruised emotionally but wiser for the experience.

Tonight was one of those times where I felt immensely proud of my sons and their strong minds. I read aloud an article about a protestor who was arrested at a funeral for a police officer. He was protesting the formal march and funeral procession on the grounds that no other public servant receives such an elaborate farewell and he felt it was unnecessary and a burden to taxpayers. In order to get an un influenced opinion from my youngest I read it and asked his opinion without revealing my own. Without missing a beat he emphatically expressed his opinion, clearly stating the reasons for them.
This then gave me the opportunity to open him up to seeing the opposing side of the argument, which I did even though I agreed with his take on it. I did this in order to help him form his own opinion without the need to pass judgement of the other side. I wanted him to stand by his convictions while allowing himself to at least see the other perspective even if he couldn’t agree with it, which he did. I couldn’t have been more proud, hearing my son challenge the views presented in the media and to be able to so eloquently and emphatically present his opinion on the matter. Then to have him open his mind to the opposing side of the argument and to understand where the other mindset was coming from, even though he still did not agree, was exhilarating! Knowing he could carry on a passionate conversation without the need to tear down the person with opposing views is crucial to his growth as a person.

For me, I feel hope for the future each time I have a conversation like this with one of my kids. If we teach them to be active participants in their own lives and not mindless sheep then they can continue to grow, evolve and live lives with meaning.

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