PHIL'S PHILOSOPHY By; D.P Kinkade Contributions By; Taylor & Drake Kinkade
BECAUSE I ASKED SO!
Of coarse the title to this particular column is a play on the phrase “because I said so!” Is there a parent anywhere, who has children that have reached the age where they can ask the question, “why” who has not said this phrase at one point or another? If we lean a little bit toward having a patient personality we will at times actually give reasoning as to “why” we need our child to perform a certain task or to act a specific way. If our reasoning seems insufficient to quell the inquiry of our child then our patience may be tried to the point where we resort to the simple reasoning of, “because I said so!”At other times if we are not feeling particularly patient or if we have a bit less of a lenient nature, then we might not feel obligated to give them an in depth or definitive answer as to why they need to do something. We may have been pushed to the point of frustration when our answers seem insufficient to motivate them or sometimes we might just not feel obligated to rationalize our request. The care we have, oftentimes sacrificially, given to them, along with the wisdom we have attained from experience that they have yet to acquire, we feel should garner a level of respect and compliance. At that point we don't want to debate, we just want the task done or the behavior modified; immediately.
I have been guilty of using the phrase, “because I said so!” myself, so don't take what I am about to say as a blanket condemnation of using that phrase, in fact I believe it is at times the only necessary or appropriate reasoning we need to give to a child in response to their questions as to why something needs to get or be done, by them. To not encourage the “why” in some, perhaps nearly all situations though, is ultimately detrimental to the well being of the whole or complete (interpreted as- perfect- in some writings) human being .
If we want our children to grow into introspective, critical thinking-(making reasoned judgments which are logical and well thought out. A way of thinking in which you don't just accept all arguments or conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude of questioning such arguments and conclusions,) creative thinking- (the process we use to develop ideas that are unique, useful and worthy of further elaboration,) free thinking-(a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent from authority or tradition)beings; capable of provoking thought and examining different perspectives and philosophies then, “why” has to be promoted as a trusted ally, mentor and our most valuable resource, in producing such folks.
If our goal is to produce folks with such attributes (as indeed my own personal goal is exactly that), if that is a goal that we aspire to as a society, then we have to get away from “who can give me the answer to...?” type of environments, where we just expect our children to absorb information long enough to regurgitate it on an exam and instead create environments which promote and invoke inquisitive natures, able to sustain curiosity throughout an entire lifetime.
In case you may not have noticed, I'll let you in on the information that our nation, as a whole, has been slipping further and further behind, in regards to how our children compare to other developed countries in scholastic aptitude and performance, for quite a while now. There is a lot of blame being thrown around for as to why we are in such an unenviable position. Many blame pure laziness, others blame a lack of discipline or too much permissiveness. Some blame it on control being relaxed too much. The whole “these kids now-a-days!” approach at looking at the world. The truth is every generation, for countless generations, (I know first-hand at least the last two before mine and including mine) probably going back to when humans first started living in familial and communal units, has complained about the next generation having less respect, drive and dedication, than they had in their own youth. In my own observations, I would say that children growing up today are exposed to much more than past generations but I would not say they are, as a rule of thumb, any worse than we were, in fact I see a lot of evidence that the current generation is more sophisticated than we were and more concerned with the long time future than we ever were and they often have hearts that rival or even surpass us, in terms of compassion and empathy, in lot of situations.
One of the most often used sources for blame is, to tell you the truth, kind of grating on my last nerve. It is “ it is this new fangled way of doing things, this new way of looking at things approach which is causing all the problems.” It is not just education where that particular view is being espoused either, it has seeped into just about every aspect of our society, from faith, politics, education, you name it; a large segment of the population seems to want to blame critical, free-thinking, for any and all problems, real, perceived or otherwise.
If you want to know the truth, critical, progressive, creative thinking, can not be at the root of the problem, because it is still in check, it is a very small minority, without any real widespread acceptance. Yet we, as a society, want to blame it as having widespread detrimental affect but with very little real influence, how can it possibly be to blame for all the problems that have been placed upon its brow?
I believe the real reason we have slipped so far behind is because we doubled down on the theory that we must have been doing something right in the past and we just need to do more of it. Where as several other nations woke up to the fact that we are headed into a new future, where creative thinking is a sought after goal.
“Because I said so” might be a way of getting tasks done but asking “why” opens up the mind. We need to be encouraging not only our children (but maybe especially them) but every one with the breath of life still in them, how to think, not just pour in more and more information about what to think. If I am -asked- to do something, I will try my best but if I am -told- to do something-ah, not so much. How about we quit the blame game and the search for some mythical past that never existed and create a future we can all be proud of, one where “why” is an ally not a foe, one which actually touches on true awe. What would a world like that look like? I would like to catch a glimpse, how about you?