{from the coffee shop}

>> Saturday, April 10, 2010

They were talking politics, and I heard him tell her, "I think it's good for parents to give their children something to believe. They can always change their minds later."

And I thought, what about teaching your kids how to think, not what to think?

owen sunshine

I don't need my kids to grow up agreeing with me -- I want them growing up knowing how to think. To form their own ideas, to question pat answers, to want to know the why's behind the what's and how's.

This is what I want for my kids:

For them to learn that everyone has ideas. That we will like some people's ideas better than others. And that even if we don't like someone's ideas, that we can still like them, still respect them as a person.

Eli thinking

For them to question good guys and bad guys. To accept that if we try hard enough, if we approach people with open minds and ears, that we can find common ground somewhere.

That we should listen, rather than wait to speak. That we must always be open to changing our minds when presented with new information. That there's no shame in recognizing we were wrong.

I don't want to give my kids something to believe. I want to support them in their process of discovering what they believe.

Axel lifting

(And I want to follow my own advice.)

Do you think about this stuff too?


swonderful April 10, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

Oh, I get this. You are so right on.

I personally love people who believe all different things about life and politics and parenting, etc., and it makes me sad to observe how many of them can't stand each other.

anymommy April 10, 2010 at 11:55 PM  

Yes, I do. A lot. And I think you will raise amazing, open-minded and thoughtful people.

Thomasin April 11, 2010 at 12:45 AM  

I love coffee shop talk. Everyone gets all pumped up with caffeine and starts tellin' it like they see it. And they don't care who is listening in. ;-)

Indeed, I think about this. A lot. It wasn't how I was raised (at least, it mostly wasn't) and I fear I have more dictator/guru leanings in me versus the life-coach/librarian whom I think would be more helpful to my daughter. G-d help her. (I'm trying, I swear I am!)

Dawn April 11, 2010 at 9:45 AM  

i like the "listen, not wait to speak" part. it isn't always easy. but you are so right. they need to have the ground rules, and know that they can make their conclusions... and those ideas are valuable. it is one of my favorite things about the "odyssey of the mind" process. and i think my daughter has gained so much from it...

togetherforgood April 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM  

Yes. But I want my kids to know that we do not blindly follow our own beliefs; that we do not raise them in a certain faith because we are mindlessly clinging to vain tradition. I want them to believe the Bible with childlike faith that grows to a more mature understanding as they age-- because they have thought it through and see that it still rings with truth.

Boy Crazy April 11, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

And that's exactly why I'm talking about politics, parenting styles, etc. rather than faith or religion. I think that's a whole different boat. Thanks for bringing up the point.

Corinne April 11, 2010 at 3:37 PM  

"That we should listen, rather than wait to speak."
I think we ALL need a reminder of that now and then (myself included...) what an excellent line.
A big "here here!" to your post.

confused homemaker April 11, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

Yes, I think about it a lot. I hope that they continue to grow and to seek the whys without closing out others in the process.

denise April 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM  

Yes I do. Which is why we are unschoolers! :)

sarah April 11, 2010 at 8:21 PM  

I think about this a lot, because my views are SO different from my parents and I've never really been sure why. And I know that deep down, they are a little disappointed that I'm a co-sleeping, non-spanking bleeding heart liberal.

I wonder how my views will impact my child and if I'll have the self-control to give him the space to make up his own mind about politics, religion, etc. But it is also frightening to me on some levels to think that he might go off in the other direction, as well.

Jaimie April 11, 2010 at 8:28 PM  

Yes, I totally do think this way. I would never want my kid to always agree with me. I want him to know that disagreeing with people can sometimes be a sign of intelligence. I want him to be skeptical and I want him to respect ALL people regardless of their opinions, among other things.

Ann's Rants April 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM  

I love the way you used the photos in here.

I think, as a rule, more listening is better.

And boy do I love to talk.

Boy Crazy April 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM  

And by no means am I claiming that I have this down pat! My oldest kid is only 6, so I have a looooong way to go with much bigger disagreements looming in my future. But this is what I aim for, definitely.

Lee Vandeman April 11, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

Interesting. My mind definitely jumped to the faith/religion thing when you started this post. Even though you mentioned politics. Because I have written about the faith thing before - the "giving the belief" of faith thing. So yes, I guess that's a different topic.

I know some people who were "given" the political beliefs of their parents when they were young and they are some of the most complacent people I know. Yuck.

The questioning, discerning, inquisitive brain is way more attractive in my opinion.


deb April 11, 2010 at 10:23 PM  

I prefer listening. I'm a big benefit of the doubt person.
Even spouses can have a different view on things, really.

room for learning, room for growing, room for listening.


deb April 11, 2010 at 10:23 PM  

and that last photo, love love

Kimberly April 12, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

how do you get the list of thumbnails to other 'you might also like: blog entries'

Politics?? I don't even have belief there. Except that I believe that I hate politics, LOL. Why would I teach my kids what political party to side with? I didn't even tell my kids for whom I voted.

patty April 12, 2010 at 6:01 PM  

you posted just before me at deb's so i just had to come by...{ i do that sometimes}. i love your philosophy! your boys are pretty darn cute, too... and i like how you used their photos, and i like the expressions they were making... knowing, thinking, being pensive, exploring. perfect.
don't know if they're old enough for school... but one thing i wish i saw more of there is critical thinking skills and problem solving. encouraging them to think what they think & not just follow like a herd of cattle. hm.

Kristen @ Motherese April 12, 2010 at 8:16 PM  

Hi Elizabeth - I like to think that, by helping your kids learn how to think, you actually are giving them something to believe in: the importance of reason, questioning, and communication in a world where all of those can be in short supply.

Meghan April 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM  

"That we should listen, rather than wait to speak." ...YES! Something I work at and work at, and wish others would do.

Jenn April 15, 2010 at 1:49 AM  

I have been thinking about this very thing a lot lately -- raising kids who know how to think for themselves and form their own opinions. I've been mulling over HOW we teach that skill. Good post.

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