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Posted on 2014.09.23 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114

I don't tell my children what to believe, only how to think. I do press upon them my expectations of their behavior, but never without disclosing from where that expectation comes, before engaging them on their view of the pros and cons of alternative behavior in any given scenario. How would you choose to behave? Why? Do you think that would be appropriate, and if so, why? (My daughter hates this more than my son, but I'll give her a few more years).

When they ask me which socio-political/religious/pop-culture thing I believe, I stress the importance of basing those beliefs on the level of my own ignorance - were further evidence provided, I would absolutely adapt my viewpoint to include the new data no matter my feelings on the subject.

That said, I find it awkward talking to other adults who have no concept of independent thought, or who allow their mood to dictate their decision-making.

Imagine anyone believing one political party is "better" than another political party (and what must one think of those who support the opposition?) given subjective, individual nature and nurture. Imagine entire nations filled with grown adults convinced that of all the religions in all the world in all of history - their mom and dad miraculously taught them their regional God was the one true God and everyone else followed a false prophet. Or that any example of societal progression is the only natural course of action. Or all the reasons we justify behaving reprehensibly - treating someone badly out of selfishness because we feel we've been wronged. Surely there are those who rebel for the sake of rebellion - but without critical thinking behind those actionable items, no real wisdom is gained, for it replaces one broken ideology with another broken ideology.

When the things I experience; learn, differ from that which I was taught as truth - a reconciliation absolutely must take place...Childhood programming runs deep... And if we don't believe everything we were taught, how do we chose which things to believe and which not to believe? How can we question some things, but not others? Where is that line drawn?

I want my children to chose their own ideologies, and be able to defend their beliefs cheerfully, not with the conviction of principle, rather the knowledge they have the skills necessary to form their own opinions, rather than simply parroting that of their parents.


michelle1963 at 2014-09-23 12:43 (UTC) (Link)
I have a distant memory of a parent warning me that her young child liked to play "the why game." In fact, I was delighted when the child began asking me why about everything he could. While he may have done it to annoy his mother, I liked the "why" game too. Being young, and a bit silly, the questions did become rather circular.

Asking why is the first step in understanding ourselves and the world around us. Continuing to ask why beyond the surface is what allows to have some measure of control over our destiny, instead of merely abiding by the default societal expectation. While the default societal view / expectation may be beneficial to us in some instances, in others blind adherence may interfere with achievement, happiness, or a sense of well-being.

It's important to understand why we behave as we do, what motivates us. It's important to have some understanding of the many possible motivations behind the behavior of others - instead of assuming it is just one thing. Unfortunately, many adults look at the behavior of others and explain them in one broad stroke. For example an egotist looks at the behavior of co-workers and friends and assumes their behavior is in reaction to him, rather than seeing them as individuals with their own lives - lives in which he is not the center of the universe. A religious fundamentalist may paint everyone's behavior in terms of good and evil, because that's how he sees the world. A jaded cop looks at others in terms of criminality. While it is impossible to view others without some personal bias, we would do well to question whether that bias is extreme enough to cloud our view of reality.

So yeah, ask the question, why.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2014-09-24 02:17 (UTC) (Link)
michelle1963 at 2014-09-24 02:20 (UTC) (Link)
See? That wasn't so hard! :p
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