I listened to an episode of the podcast “Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World” from the BBC today. The idea was that we should ask our kids, daily and about anything (not everything every second, just occasionally), “What do you think about that?”
One comment by the panel who talked about the idea is that it plays into the whole “special snowflake” culture (I am of course paraphrasing) where every child should get to voice their precious and all important opinion about everything. If I agreed with that assessment I would say this is a TERRIBLE idea. I am not a fan of that view of children, or adults for that matter. Not all opinions matter. If you’re an unreasoning idiot I don’t want or need to hear your opinion. On anything. Ever.
I, however, interpret this idea differently. I see it more as an opportunity to teach kids how to think. By asking them to form an opinion of something, by asking them what they think about things, it gives them practice in just that–thinking.
We need more people who can think. People with common sense and the ability to reason. Not more people who spout memorized jargon. Schools teach kids how to memorize facts and how to remember things long enough to pass tests when what they really need to be taught is how to think intelligently.
I believe asking them that one simple question is a great way to start them down that road.