The Lost Art of Adult Discussion

I love exchanging ideas, thoughts, and opinions with people!
The absolute most useful question is, “Can you explain why or how you developed that idea?”.
Nowadays, it seems that that question is considered as an ‘assault’ or ‘insult’ to many.

Read it again, and ask yourself, if there’s anything wrong or dangerous about the question?

Yet, that question separates the intellectually honest from ‘immature’ actors.

If that question, elicits a compilation of links and YouTube videos, you may just want to graciously move on. The person obviously hasn’t thought about the concept enough to use his/her own words.
If that question, elicits an opinion portrayed as a fact, moving on is also recommended. Opinions are good but have little value in critical analysis.
And, if the question, elicits a challenge to your intelligence or integrity rather than any rational ‘ideas’ in the person’s own words, move on immediately.

The best method in conversation is to always explain what YOU believe and avoid telling others, what THEY should believe. (Actually, if you think you’re (or anyone else) is the authority on what every person should think, you’re automatically too immature to have an ‘adult’ exchange with.)
The second method, is to find samples of things that they’ve said that make sense and tell them you agree. Even if you think their premises are flawed, make an effort to tell them “You’re not alone in that.” or “I know many other intelligent people who say that.”. Then, offer your oppositional facts or opinions. At this point, the ‘adults’ will wonder about your evidence. The immature will likely talk about ‘information sources’ or say “get educated”. You likely should tell them “Have a nice day.” and save your breath. Being called ‘stupid’ ruins any ‘adult’ conversation.
Be advised, ending the discussion is what many ‘immature’ intellects actual want. They enjoy whatever conclusions they have made and find questions uncomfortable.

Obviously, the best sign of intellectual honesty is an absolute willingness to amend your opinions based on well presented arguments and new factual information. Anyone who suggests “I’m correct and you’re not.” doesn’t have enough integrity and humility to talk with.

We used to have debate assignments in grade school. That was an excellent training for making well-thought arguments. I don’t believe that the public schools teach that any longer. Sadly, the number of ‘adult’ conversations have suffered for that. I only know a handful of people who realize that disagreeing is not an assault but a request for more conversation.

I really want to know what others’ think. It helps me challenge and amend how I think. Testing our opinions either makes them stronger or makes us change them. There is no place for conclusions in Science or Public Opinion.
IMO… we’ll remain hopelessly divided until people, in general, ‘grow up’. I’m not holding my breath but have learned how to save it. 😉

Psych-Out

Human psychology is so very curious.

On Facebook, there’s a game circulating which asks people to list some unknown facts about themselves. Immediately, I was struck by the different types of answers and that, some “private” people, just didn’t want to play.

As a person who shares her ideas and opinions (more often than many would care to hear), I find “private” people curious from the “get go”. This is not a judgement, at all. I just wonder what they are feeling and thinking? Since they aren’t inclined to share…I may never know.

That said, the answers, from those who wanted to play, fell into several categories.

1. Things that have happened to them.

2. Their personal tastes and preferences.

3. Accomplishments and choices they’ve made.

4. Ideas/philosophies

THIS is absolutely interesting to me.

While some, chose to reach into their childhood for tidbits, others stayed in a “real time” frame of reference… this also, was interesting.

I’m not a psychologist and we cannot be sure that “how?” people answered isn’t influenced by their own environment in that moment BUT it must, on some level, say a lot about their self-image.

Now, don’t expect me to draw conclusions. This blog post is just about pointing out something that I found curious and wanted to share ‘cuz sharing is what I do! LOL 😉

To Infinity and beyond… Child Care Fun

Ava
Ava

I couldn’t imagine a happier profession than mine.

As a child day care provider, I get to play with kids everyday. Ideas are my passion and kids have the BEST ideas!

Yesterday, two of my 4-year-old friends and I had a lovely discussion.
My first question was, “How might I get to the moon?”

Jasen: “You would need super shoes to jump up there.”

Me: “Where might I get those super shoes?”

Jasen: “At Super Walmart, of course.”

We discussed the moon further and decided that we would need a gravity suit and air tanks and a Super Parachute (available, also, at Super Walmart).

Me: “There’s too much to jump with. How might we get our supplies up there?”

Jasen: “We’ll need a truck!”

Me: “There’s no road to the moon. How about a rocket ship?”

Jasen:”Where do we buy a rocket ship?”

Me: “Scientists have them at NASA.”

With that problem solved, I moved on.

Me:”How do farmers plant seeds in their fields?”

Ava and Jasen: “They dig a hole with a shovel and drop in the seeds.”

Me: “That would take too long for a farmer to plant 500 seeds. How do farmers plant so many seeds in good time?”

Ava: “They ask 500 friends to come over and dig a hole.”

Me: :”That’s a great way to save time! Good idea. But, the farmer would need 500 shovels, wouldn’t he? I don’t think he can get that many at Super Walmart. It would cost a lot and the inventory(I explained what inventory meant.) isn’t that large!”

So, I introduced and  talked about tractors and planters and plows.

Me:” Now, how will the farmer water her seeds?” … Notice the gender change 😉

Jasen:” She can get a hose.”

“Me: “I don’t think that there are hoses long enough for big fields.”

Ava: “I know! It will rain sometimes.”

Me:” Super Ava! That is what the farmers hope for. On a rainy day, remember that the farmers are happy.”

Jasen: “What if there are puddles?”

Me: “You are right, Jasen! Sometimes, there is too much rain and the farmers hope for the sun to come out to dry up those fields. Last Spring, my uncle and cousin, couldn’t drive their tractors on the muddy ground. They were very worried. Boy, farmers really need to count on the weather, don’t they?”

Our conversation progressed through the steps that produce takes to reach their dinner table. During the discussion, we realized the need for refrigerator trucks too.
We had one great afternoon!

What fun it is to be an early childhood educator! I get to witness that wide-eyed wonder every single day along with many opportunities for chuckles. 😉

Today? Well, we’ll see what comes up. It’s going to be fun!

Philosophically Speaking

My Philosophy Bookshelf(top)
My Philosophy Bookshelf(top) (Photo credit: jddunn)

I find myself shaking my head in disbelief after many (mostly political) conversations that I often initiate on Facebook.

It comes from a received comment that is totally unrelated to my initially expressed idea… which leads to other unrelated comments and so on. Such is life on social media but I’ve been perplexed by why it happens so often?

Then I realized that my comments are from a philosophical consideration, while others, want to deal in “facts” and polls and, sometimes, rumors.

No one way is superior to the other but, put them together, and no one gets anywhere but confused…sometimes angry.

Those who deal in philosophical terms are dealing with concepts and beliefs. They realize that they simply don’t know everything, and, also believe, neither does anyone else. So, to the philosophical person, data is not a part of the discussion. It may be worthy of a power point presentation but simply offers nothing when discussing principles and reasoning itself.

I admit that I am numerically impaired. I try to remember exact numbers and statistics but I cannot.(besides, I don’t trust them)
Because of my impairment, I’m really not interested in that kind of discussion, anyway.
There seems to be folks who are my opposite. I call them Fact-focused. I’d say they are, sometimes, quite philosophically impaired. You can recognize them immediately. They have “facts” and stats and find their truth somewhere among them. I’d want those people doing my taxes but I get frustrated with them in any philosophical argument because they are not speaking a language germane to my subject.

Furthermore, a philosophical person primarily asks only one question… Why?
A Fact-focused person asks many…Where, When, and How many?

To cement my self-labeling as a philosophical thinker, a fact-focused person would not have needed to understand “Why, am I not being understood?” as I just have … but I suspect they are searching, at this same moment, through data and sharpening their information for their next battle of wits.  Problem is, we won’t be on the same planet when it occurs. Ugh!

Laundry Time in America

How did “We the people…” become so divided and, somewhat, gullible?

I suspect that we are simply victims of our own busy lives. My favorite quote from Shawshank Redemption was from Brooks when he viewed the world outside of prison after 50+ years on the inside.”The world has gone and got itself in a big damn hurry.”
Nowadays, when we consider who to cast our vote for, we are bombarded by “sound bites” and glimpses. This makes our political minds putty in the hands of those with agendas. They take advantage of our distractions and are no better than “pick pockets” aimed at keeping us focused away from the truth.
As for the liberals and conservatives, they have become convinced that their ideas are “either…or”. In a large part their arguments are purely about different priorities, not different ideas. I’ve never met a conservative who wants individuals to die in emergency rooms and I’ve never met a liberal who wants to pass debt on to his/her grandchildren. The big question for Americans is, in what order do we address our problems?
Now, for my opinion from a conservative viewpoint . I want to offer you a real life example:
I was without a clothes dryer for a year. Just last week, I obtained one. It was sudden since a friend was moving and was giving it away. What a wonderful, better way it is to get my laundry done! It’s a real improvement upon hanging everything out to dry…especially when it rains.

On Monday, I was still enjoying my triumphant progress. As I walked to my cellar, I felt secure that I would have my laundry done quickly. It was then that I discovered that my improved laundry scenario had one serious pitfall. I was out of detergent. I had not planned upon the new, more efficient schedule requiring more detergent than I could manage in my budget. If I’d only taken more time to consider what my new system would need, I may have been happily laundering without interruption. This made me chuckle out loud.

So there you have it… I hope everyone has considered their own expectations and can find satisfaction in a candidate who may fulfill them.

The Game of Favorites

I just don’t like the word favorite. It is an exclusive term that means nothing to me. My favorite things are harder to pin down than an accurate weather forecast.

There are too many wonderful feelings, colors, people, and ideas to play favorites. Gosh, I enjoy the rummaging that takes place when I’m ask about my favorite. The flashes from one delightful image to another, makes me smile, but I never was good at decision-making and really don’t care to choose.

Favorite choosing is a waste of time and subject to time also. At any given moment your favorite can easily be “up for grabs”, don’t you think?

I dearly love my dog. He is one of many “dog loves” of my life. To say he is my all-time favorite diminishes the love I’ve had for others and the love I hope to have for others too.

I will be blessed with a new granddaughter in September. It’s hard for me to image any grandchild as precious as Katherine, yet I know there is room for more. Evelyn will be my favorite Evelyn. That is all I can proclaim. She may be Katherine’s favorite sister if her mom’s design of her being the “final” child holds true. Only exclusive things can really, truly, hold the title of favorite and, in my world and yours, so few life experiences are exclusive enough to qualify.

Next time someone asks for your favorite, hold up your hand and say, “There’s no such thing.”

Doesn’t this all sound picky?

I think labeling favorites is the more picky endeavor. Count me out, please.

Reading, listening or participating…

I enjoyed listening to story books being read to me so very much that I had a hard time relating to kids who wouldn’t sit still and “get with the program”. Then, I realized, that the spoken word is not easy for some people to digest. My daughter needs to see and hear the words and refuses the act of being read to. Some people need something in their hands while they listen. Others are extra dependent upon visual aids. Until we realize how differently people process information, how could we effectively educate our kids?

Lecture halls may teach some folks but I can imagine others feel as though they are  drowning in that environment. Holy cow! The way we learn can be very diverse and by no means has anything to do with intelligence.

I know modern day teachers are schooled in the learning diversity but I cannot comprehend how they are able to implement solutions that will address every child’s learning style. How could they with 28 kids in one room?

I recommend that we start very early with our observations of little ones. I really dislike labels but noting their style could be akin to an award of talents rather than a stigma of a disability.

Right, at this very time, I have a group of kids who fall into each learning style. One sings, all the time. Another shouts out to be heard. Another needs quiet and hands-on concentration.

Here is an article that all parents might enjoy:

Multiple Intelligences: Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style

Added this to your new collection: Bright Ideas

A Fairy Princess. A Race-car Driver. A Mommy. A Firefighter. A Ballerina. An Astronaut. These are just some of the answers you may get when you ask your child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You may think they are sweet to share with your family and friends, but your child’s response could be telling you something important about the way he or she learns and what type of ‘Multiple Intelligences’ he or she has.

So what are Multiple Intelligences anyway? Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 to help educators, psychologists and parenting experts better understand how children process and learn information.

Not only has the theory become a respected way of looking at learning, it has helped validate other experts’ work. Dr. Joseph Renzulli, professor and director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, says he started his work with intelligence years before Gardner’s theory. But it was Gardner who brought widespread acceptance to the idea. That helped bring attention to The Renzulli Learning System, which utilizes the Intelligences. A great admirer of Gardner, Dr. Renzulli says, “The most important thing The Multiple Intelligences theory has done is called attention to the ways children express themselves.”

What Intelligences does your child possess? The following are descriptions of Gardner’s nine Multiple Intelligences, along with tips on how you can help your child stretch his or her areas of strength:

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart). This child focuses in school, enjoys reading, has an extensive vocabulary, prefers English or Social Studies over math and science, learns a foreign language with ease, is a good speller and writer, likes rhymes and puns, and communicates his thoughts well.

Tip: Encourage him to discuss books he has read with you, play word or board games, prepare speeches or enroll in drama classes. Possible career paths: poet, journalist, teacher, or lawyer

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart). This child is curious about how things work, loves numbers and math (especially if he can do it in his head), enjoys strategy games like chess, checkers, brain teasers or logic puzzles, likes experiments, is interested in natural history museums, and likes computers.

Tip: Encourage her to solve various kinds of puzzles, provide her with games like checkers, chess or backgammon, let her figure things out and encourage her to ask questions.  Possible career paths: scientist, engineer, researcher, or accountant.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart). This child easily leans to read and understands charts and maps, daydreams often, is skilled at drawing, doodling and creating 3-D sculptures, enjoys movies, and likes taking things apart and putting them back together.

Tip: Provide opportunities to paint, color, design. Give him puzzles and 3-D activities like solving mazes, challenge his creativity, and encourage him to design buildings or clothing. Possible career paths: sculptor, mechanic, architect, or interior designer.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart). This child excels in more than one sport, taps or moves when required to sit still, can mimic other’s body movements/gestures, likes to touch objects, enjoys physical activities and has excellent fine-motor coordination.

Tip: Encourage participation in school and extracurricular sports/teams. Provide blocks. Encourage fine-motor ability (teach her to build paper airplanes, create origami, or try knitting). Enroll her in dance class. Possible career paths: dancer, firefighter, surgeon, actor, or athlete.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart). This child can tell you when music is off-key and easily remember melodies. He has a pleasant singing voice, shows aptitude with musical instruments, speaks or moves in a rhythmical way, hums or whistles to himself, and may show sensitivity to surrounding noises.

Tip: Encourage him to play an instrument, write songs, join school bands or choirs, or study folk dancing from other countries. Possible career paths: musician, singer, or composer.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart). This child enjoys socializing with friends, is a natural leader, is caring, helps friends solve problems, is street-smart and understands feelings from facial expressions, gestures and voice.

Tip: Encourage collaborative activities with friends inside and outside of school, expose her to multi-cultural books and experiences, encourage dramatic activities and role playing, help her learn to negotiate and share. Possible career paths: counselor, therapist, politician, salesman, or teacher.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self-Smart). This child shows a sense of independence, knows his abilities and weaknesses, and does well when left alone to play or study. He has a hobby or interest he doesn’t talk about much, is self-directed, has high self-esteem, and learns from failures and successes.

Tip: Help him set goals and realize the steps to get there, encourage independent projects and journal writing, help him find quiet places for reflection and appreciate his differences. Possible career paths: philosopher, professor, teacher, or researcher.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart). This child talks about favorite pets or outdoor spots, enjoys nature preserves and the zoo, and has a strong connection to the outside world. She likes to play outdoors, collects bugs, flowers and leaves, and is interested in biology, astronomy, meteorology or zoology.

Tip: Take her to science museums, exhibits and zoos. Encourage her to create observation notebooks, ant farms, bug homes, and leaf collections. Involve her in the care of pets, wildlife, and gardens. Make binoculars and telescopes available to her. Possible career paths: animal activist, biologist, astronomer, or veterinarian.

Existential Intelligence (Philosophically Smart). This child enjoys thinking and questions the way things are. He shows curiosity about life and death and shows a philosophical awareness and interest that seems beyond his years. He asks questions like, ‘Are we alone in the universe?’

Tip: Be patient with his questioning, as he may ask over and over again. Read books together that explore these topics and talk about them at an age-appropriate level.  Possible career paths: philosopher, clergy, scientist, or writer.

Don’t worry if it looks like your child is only strong in 3-4 areas. That’s the way it should be. While children have the potential to be intelligent in all areas, they will most likely show dominance in some and weakness in others. Dr. Renzulli advises, “When we find our child’s preferred learning style, we should capitalize on it and give them many opportunities to express that in their work. But it is equally important to give them exposure to various kinds of styles.” In other words, your child may not realize what his preferred learning style is until he is exposed to it.

Perhaps your child will never attain Princess status, but she may write a novel about the royal life. And maybe your son won’t set foot on Mars, but rather, design the next generation of rockets. Whatever Intelligences your children have, be sure to watch for the cues along the way and encourage them to be whatever they want to be. In the meantime, let your kid have fun dreaming about the Indy 500, even if it gives you a few gray hairs in the process.