If knowledge is power than the ability to think, criticize, determine and communicate are the traits of a powerful and therefore dangerous person no?
More and more I am seeing a doe-eyed blank stare coming from the young people in my life when it comes to being able to self-advocate.
My nephews cringe at the thought of having to make a phone call to a professional organization for fear of saying the wrong thing, and my own daughter cowers and shrinks and assumes a child-like voice when expected to leave a voice message or is asked to order a pizza over the phone.
I suspect that this behavior is simply a reflection of their lack of self-confidence in terms of their communication skills however; part of being successful in life is having the ability to produce an independent thought and communicate it. They simply haven’t yet realized their divine power as humans.
Would you agree that it is imperative that our children learn to think and communicate effectively, eloquently and confidently in order to support their opportunities for success?
Our thoughts and opinions are largely influenced by our exposure to elements which evolve our vocabulary, develop our attitudes and challenge our core beliefs and value systems. Depending on the variables, these exposures not only help to formulate who we are as individuals but, ultimately strengthen our confidence as readers, speakers, writers and most importantly thinkers.
We must ensure that our children are provided maximum exposure to elements which will benefit their capacity for analytic output and the communication skill-set to animate their thoughts, emotions and opinions into the known universe. As adults, parents and mentors, we must encourage reading, encourage watching credible news sources, encourage travel, encourage the dramatic arts, encourage tasteful film, indulge their natural curiosities about the world and the people in it. Encourage calculated risk-taking. These things are needed for the learner to broaden the boundaries of the thought process. Open-mindedness is a key element for re-educating our children and placing them on the pathways to success and freeing them from the foothills of mediocrity.
When our children believe that they possess the know-how to think and speak for themselves, they can then be expected to grow up with the security of knowing that they can advocate for themselves and defend against the proverbial powers that be. They can be expected to negotiate. Arbitrate. Adjudicate. Mediate. Intervene. Collaborate. Compromise…
Relinquish the thesaurus, you get the picture. There is no limit to what they can do when we attune them to the value of knowing.
John Dewey held the philosophy that building strong thinking skills through education not only benefits the learner but, also the community and the democracy as a whole. I’m definitely in support of that school of thought especially in terms of building those skills within the Black community. Being able to think and to learn to fully exploit the benefits of effective communication is arming our children with powerful weaponry and this is beautifully dangerous in terms of the status quo.
Without effective communication skills, the components needed for critical thinking are lost on the individual. The acts of problem solving and decision making are compromised and I believe that this puts the Black learner at a major disadvantage both educationally and socially.
If it is true that “The process of critical thinking involves the careful acquisition and interpretation of information and use of it to reach a well-justified conclusion.”(Wikipedia) it obviously follows that a lack of critical thinking results in poor problem solving and decision making. If you disagree with everything I’ve written, I’m sure we can at least agree that our children deserve a fair chance at making the best possible decisions for themselves.
If our past is any indication of our future, as a People, we’ve come a long way and have the strength, courage and tenacity to face whatever future we decide for ourselves; it no longer has to be reactionary. Once we are armed with the power of wisdom and embrace cooperation, we are a force to be reckoned with and we can be in full control of our collective destiny as a People.
We must banish the relics of The Jim Crow era in terms of the expectation that Black people are doomed by an inevitable separate, poor and desolate outcome. That’s brainwash and couldn’t possibly be any further from the truth.
In hopes of shaping a brighter future for our generations, we must safeguard them in all possible facets. Thinking, speaking, reading, writing and ultimately communicating are the most precious commodities we can stockpile.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.