Critical Thinking for Everyone
By Joseph Parish
Critical thinking is exactly what each of us endeavors to achieve in response to our daily activities both professionally and privately. When we employ the principles and practices of sound thinking we facilitate achieving expected goals, and resolving issues in a doable manner. We quickly appreciate that the fine art of questioning our environment pays off in dividends as we commit towards our goals.
As Doctors Elder and Paul so aptly stated we must initially clarify our thinking before we can effectively formulate critical decisions. I have found this to be absolutely true in my daily dealings as well. This may sound unusual, but of the strategies outlined within the text I personally feel that my strong point and my weak points lie in the listed strategy of “Being Reasonable.” This strategy for me is a two sided sword. As a practicing survivalist, I have attuned myself to watch for expected and unexpected behaviors both from others and of myself. I try to observe closely how others function and compare their actions to my own. When employing these traits one has to listen carefully and often read between the lines to gain an effective insight into what is going on. I have to put clamps on myself when it comes to accepting the views of others when I am aligned so strongly to my own opinions, but generally it works out evenly. It becomes a mutual give and take situation although I would ultimately decline compromise in the name of safety and well being.
One specific situation which occurred was when I decided to home school my grandson. Most of my family members felt opposed to this sort of educational experience and were content with having him receive his schooling via the public school system. I felt that the school systems of today have deceived the parents and they tend to hinder the children by dropping their standards to the level of the lowest common denominator. This was not what I had foreseen for my grandson’s future. His classes naturally worked out favorably and in addition I even included Survival classes. These classes in themselves have proven beneficial as a state Emergency Actions representative questioned his procedures under a certain situation and expressed approval at his response.
On the other side of this coin there are some embarrassing situations that I am not proud for being what the family terms “Stubborn” in my viewpoints. Try as I may, I often falter in feeling that I can make mistakes. I have to catch myself and convince my alter-ego that its time to ratify the problem and not to compound it. An example of these negative results was a time when I had been considering the purchase of an emergency retreat in the event of a major disaster. I felt that a particular location would be idea for building up our disaster shelter but my family felt otherwise. Unfortunately after investing sums of money in the venture, I finally deemed that they were correct and accurate in their assessment. My failure violated the principle of ignoring the relevant viewpoints being presented to me by various family members. I have now found that in all future actions, I have to carefully reconsider my choices in comparison to others recommendations.
As indicated in the reading assignment the value placed on a critical thinker is his or her abilities to modify their decisions based upon good reasons. I was amused when I read the section on “I’m not perfect. I make mistakes,” for that is one of my major problems. I should try to provide a textbook example for all my decisions but I do not and thus I occasionally make mistakes. This is an area that I must consistently be aware of and thrive to correct. In closing, I would like to say that reading the assigned sections opened up new avenues to bridge the gap between my wayward thoughts and that of critical thinking. Now I merely have to keep all the ideas clearly in mind.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish