Learning to Think

March 10, 2009

What would you rather hear a child say:

“I’m not going to that movie because my parents said I shouldn’t.”

or

“I’m not going to that movie because I don’t think it would please God because…”

If you chose the first answer you will raise a child who needs to be told what to do when the next controversial movie is released, when the coach suggests a “shortcut” to victory or when the next chance to cheat.  You will raise a child who, if she continues to go to church will depend on a preacher or a parent to make decisions and will never learn to think for herself.  He will not learn how to go to God, or to God’s Word, and may never understand the Holy Spirit’s role in helping us make wise decisions.

If on the other hand you chose the second answer you are on your way to raising a wise child.

I Corinthians 2:16 (NLT) “For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?  Who knows enough to teach him?  But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”

Notice this passage doesn’t say we have the mind of our parents, or the mind of our pastor.

There are times when we must tell our children what to do.  But we should also teach them how to think, not what to think.

Expose them to creative thinking – Think of games like Worst Case Senario, or Apples to Apples- they offer kids the opportunity to think and to choose.

Help them learn that sometimes there is more than one right answer.

Don’t always ask the questions you think you should ask, the ones with the right answer.

If you ask “Who was the hero in that story?” follow it up with “Why?”  or ask “Who do you think was the most interesting person in that story?  Why?”

Give them choices with consequences – Whether it is staying up late on a school night or playing before homework, let them experience the consequences of their own decisions.  It will help them develop wisdom.

Let them know that God can and will help – God’s Word is a light.  It can be blinding if they don’t learn how to apply it.  So read a paragraph instead of a chapter, then talk about it.  How does this apply to mom and dad?  How does it apply to a kid?  The answers may not pop right off the page, that’s good. Again you are giving your child a chance to develop thinking skills.

If we are dilligent we will help our kids mke wise choices.  This means they do whay is right tbecause they thought it through.  It means they will vote their conscience.  It means they will lead with integrity.

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Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

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