So for a very long time I have sat and watched our nation crumble and saw a culmination of the worst of humanity last week. The negativity, the cancel culture, the lack of respect are all signs of something far greater than we sense right now. My husband wrote the other day Undependence II, which he saw the further separation of people from the process of governing. It was everything that I was feeling and yet could not find the words to express it.
Yesterday a friend posted on Twitter this article in the Atlantic about Family Values. It took my breath away. Just another thing that stings in this time of chaos. For me at least, it is deeply personal and a story for another day. Simply stated “Both parents and adult children often fail to recognize how profoundly the rules of family life have changed over the past half century.”
In the end it summed something up for me that these two very different things have a connection. Basically, we are all flawed and are not perfect. We have to decide what is right and select those we surround ourselves with. What we are all seeking is validation and wants our perceived wrongs righted. We need strong boundaries with those that do not respect us.
Our Nation – Seek to Understand
I am seeking to understand, not saying one side is right or wrong. It is from understanding that the answers will come. So bear with me. Somewhere over the course of time, things shifted and not everyone got the memo. Families changed, education changed and the internet emerged. Society as a whole looks a lot different than it did in the 1950’s.
To many, the Internet has been a way to connect with like minded people and feel validated. Others have used it as a way to spread misinformation. Mark Twain once said “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.” I have experienced so much misinformation personally, that it is tiresome to fix.
Somewhere in the education system we stopped teaching people to think for themselves. We have become conditioned to only consume what one news outlet says. This lack of critical thinking is lost to so many. I know, I can be guilty of it, perhaps you to have had moments where you lacked the fortitude to explore a topic fully.
We forget that everything you hear, read, see, or feel at face value does not have to be labeled as truth. Don’t forget we can question, analyze, and make your own decisions. We just have to make the conscious choice to do so.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is a way of thinking that helps you interpret information and understand it. When you do not critical think you become easily susceptible to things like fraud and manipulation. So having strong critical thinking skills gives you the ability to make informed decisions about any topic. The key critical thinking I see that we all need to have include analysis, interpretation, inference, explanation, self-regulation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving.
Why is Critical Thinking so Hard?
Well, it is because it means we have to do some work. It is easy to read a headline and share it. But do we read the article, or question its truthfulness? There are reasons why people do not to think critically:
- They do not know how. It was never taught to them.
- Someone actually think they know how — in reality they do not.
- They do not want to because the conclusions derived from the correct thought are not what they want or need it to be.
- Someone is far too busy (or more likely lazy) to spend time needed to question and analyze facts set in front of them.
What can be done for our nation?
That is a big question, and I do not know that answer. What I do know is that we need to begin critically thinking everything that is fed to us by media, our friends and our government. When something is not right, we need to stand up and say so. No need for violence, just a rejection of the bad behavior and demand it be corrected. It means digging in and finding the answers we do not want to hear. Once hearing them taking action.
Where do we start learning critical thinking? Take a free course perhaps on Courseca. Pick up a book about critical thinking at a local library. Sit down with someone with opposing views and have a real dialogue with them. Seek to understand. Listen instead of waiting for your opportunity to talk. Perhaps just take a moment before you share something on Social Media and think it through. Read it through, double check the quote and be more conscious of what you share.
It is a start, and if we all start thinking more critically of what we watch, read or listen to our lives and our nation may just improve. Because when you critically think, you become a better person, citizen, can lead to better decisions which improve your relationships, career and life in general.