Newborn humans learn to think the way they learn to see and taste and walk and talk, gradually and without instruction.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our own thinking, at any age. Better thinking isn’t so much a gift as a conscious choice, a choice within the reach of every parent. A choice that empowers us even when watching tv, reading fairy tales, and trying on hats!
One thinking expert linked here, Diane F. Halpern, says skills are important but even more important is adopting the attitudes of a good thinker — see what these attitudes are and how to use them.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to think of thinking as a wardrobe choice, like matching styles and colors of hats? Check out Edward de Bono and his Six Thinking Hats. He’s coached world-class thinking everywhere from frozen mountaintops to the bowels of the earth, and it’s proven to work with illiterate diamond miners in South Africa, with medical specialists tending severely traumatized children (the kids get to use the skills too, to think up their own cures!) and with the creative teams of Fortune 500 companies all over the globe.
Or think about the logic of fairy tales — too bad Snow White had no Thinking Parent around to help her figure out the fallacy in the argument that nearly knocked her dead! (And Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland in his spare time, when he wasn’t thinking about mathematical proofs and logical syllogisms!)
And read what thinking leads Kieran Egan to this conclusion: “If we want to improve our schools, it is with the abstract and awkward realm of ideas that we must first deal.”
Finally, one of the smartest women in the world thought enough about how thinking can empower us to write her own book, which really lives up to its subtitle “Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning and Hard Lessons About Its Absence in Our Lives.” It even includes an elaborate analysis of game-show reasoning! Play “Let’s Make A Deal” with Monty Hall. Will it be Door Number One, Two or Three, and should you change your mind at the last minute? What are the odds you can think yourself into the right choice?
From her introduction: “Logical thinking empowers the mind in a way that no other kind of thinking can. . . It enables average Americans to stand up against the forces of political correctness, see through the chicanery, and make independent decisions for themselves. . .”
Now what could be more essential to the Thinking Parent (and their thinking children) than that?