I once was asked if I knew what kinds of jobs would be available to my kids when they grew up. My initial thought was a sarcastic, “Of course I do, I’m an educator.” (I may have even wrinkled my forehead and shook my head!) The speaker went on to explain that we really do not know now what kinds of jobs we are preparing our kids for in the future. Who knows what kinds of jobs might exist in ten years? Just think about our ever-changing (and quickly changing) world. How many jobs exist today that didn’t exist ten years ago?
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So how do we prepare our kids for a future we may not completely understand now? We prepare them by teaching them to be critical thinkers. The memorization of certain facts is important to the overall academic growth of our kids. But at the end of the day, if we are not growing critical thinkers - kids who can solve problems, think outside the box, and who can think for themselves, then we aren’t preparing them for whatever future lies ahead.
We want our kids to be able to identify problems, think through possible solutions, and think logically about how those solutions might be carried out. It’s important for them to be able to make connections in their world...not to just accept what they have been told, but to think independently.
I definitely want my kids to be prepared for the future. I want them to be successful. For me though, I want my kids to be critical thinkers for an even more important reason. I want them to stand strong in their beliefs. I want them to be able to defend their thoughts, way of thinking, and lifestyle against a world that is lost in a woke mentality. If we haven’t done a good job of raising critical thinkers, they will be swayed by every fad, every school of thought, and every mob that tells them how and what they are allowed to think. I don’t want that for them.
So how do we develop higher-level thinking skills in our kids? We give them opportunities to solve problems (on their own). We allow them to experience failure and come up with a plan to improve. We talk to them and ask them questions, allowing them to have input in their daily lives. Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer them to the best of your ability - even if the questions are difficult or uncomfortable. By developing a critical thinker, you are doing one of the most important things you can do to prepare them for a successful future.