Friday, June 15, 2007

Learning to think for yourself

Why is it so hard from some people to think outside the box? Or better yet, to even just think for themselves? I think about this often because I see it so often. As a customer, I see it in the places I shop. As a college professor, I see it in my classroom. There are some students who literally need me to walk them through every step of every project. A lot of times there is no one right way to do something. I want them to be creative, think outside the box, think for themselves, but they just can't to it. They have never had that practise before. That is very sad to me!

As my level of frustration elevates, I spend more time trying to figure out how to teach Lil' Bug how to be an independent thinker. I want that for Lil' Bug. But it is a lot easier said than done! It takes a conscious effort. It won't just happen by accident.

When Lil' Bug was teeny-tiny I started empowering Lil' Bug to make her own choices. She didn't even know that she was doing it, but she was. At her young age it is about the small things in life. I always let her choose the books she wants read to her. I allow her the choice of clothes each day. I let her have a say on some of the activities we do each day/week. She picks out the color cuppie she drinks from and even the plate she eats from. She gets a say in choosing some of her own extra activities like whether is more interested in music class than swim class or vice-versa. The list goes on and on. I do not EVER let her make a choice that could cause her harm or harm to others. Obviously, I know where to draw the line.

Lil' Bug doesn't know what is happening right now. She doesn't understand that I am teaching her how to think for herself. I know that at some point this will cause her to question me about my choices for her and I look forward to that. I want her to be able to question things. I don't want her to be a conformist, a follower. I want her to be a free, independent thinker who is able to express her thoughts and concerns. I also want her to be able to express why she thinks that choice is the best choice for her. Yes, there are some people who criticize me. Those people think that a child is just a child and shouldn't have a say. But I wonder if those are the people who can't think outside the box?!?!?!

So, will my empowerment automatically push her toward what I want her to be? I honestly have no idea. I have never raised a child before. However, I know that telling her everything to think and do is not going to get her any closer to my goal so I am giving this a try. It is scary to think that my "experiment" now will impact her for life! But, I pray for wisdom on parenting and have felt lead to this, so I believe that I am on to something here.


Pewee: said...

I heard this said once "As parents we aren't raising children, we are raising adults."

mommyof2boys said...

I never really thought of it like that but letting children make simple decisions on a day to day basis is laying the foundation for them to think for themselves - which is very powerful for them in the future.

Sherri said...

I think this is a great idea :)