As a mother, it is obvious to see that children are naturally inquisitive and will quite happily pull an adult up when they see hypocrisy and question facts with criticism. However, there are some adults who find this to be disrespectful and will prevent a child from this natural inquisitiveness by telling them that they are rude and disrespecting their elders. This inevitably suppresses the child's natural inquisitiveness and instead molds the child who then lacks the ability or the confidence to question anything. I believe that for many this has been the case and it has certainly been the case for me. I find it very difficult to speak my mind on the assumption that I am coming across as confrontational when in fact all I am doing is questioning the other speaker. This is not disrespectful nor is it rude but I suspect with this assumption it will be very hard for the masses to learn themselves out of this situation. But learning myself and my child's way out of this situation is a must for me as a mother and a teacher to my child.
I have in the past found it very difficult to find the balance between being assertive and ended up being passive to the point of being passive-aggressive. This is based on the sensitivities of people who I have spoken to throughout my life, who misinterpret my assertiveness for aggression. It could be that at such accusations I have likely come across as being passive-aggressive. I have seen many interactions of this kind which all inevitably come down to interpretation. Regardless of the interpretation that one person may have, another and their interpretation of assertiveness may appear to be aggression. It is therefore important to me to teach my child how to think independently and continue the charming inquisitiveness which he holds and to continue questioning me, his mother as an adult and all adults around him. For me to observe such confidence within him is really charming and enjoyable and I embrace and nurture that intelligence about him.
It is natural for children want things to be correct and competitive, so I went on a search for books which would actively teach him, that it was okay to be a freethinker and that no thinking is wrong. With that in mind I found the book Children's Book of Philosophy an Introduction to the World's Great Thinkers and their big ideas. It is a large book discussing many philosophical ideas in appropriate language for children to understand. It briefly teachers about the great philosophers and provides deep thinking questions to your children. With my son being in primary school and enjoying learning within school this book has provided him with plenty of thought with its content. One of the first points it makes is that questions can never be wrong, and in fact it is better to continue asking questions. Perhaps for a child to see this in black and white on pages printed within a book that confirms that critical thinking is an important part of day-to-day life. When we have read each chapter, which consists of just two pages, we have a discussion about what we've read and learned. A chapter might consist of a question such as “is colour in the mind or in the object?” Or” what is the ‘self’?” Such questions introduce critical analysis of ourselves and the world around us and bring to light for a child the necessity of questioning our surroundings and ourselves as well as those around us.
The discussions we've had between ourselves after these chapters have been enlightening and have inspired my son to question much deeper and raise questions which are not within the book. This in turn has nurtured great confidence in my son who is naturally a very sensitive child. It is fair to say we have both really enjoyed this book and it has given us both plenty of food for thought. It is also confirmed that these sorts of books whereby critical thinking is encouraged for children, is something I continue to pursue to find for my son. The book is well researched, presented well with plenty of colours and designed in such a way to keep the child's attention, including pictures. It is certainly a book I would encourage other parents to buy if your child like mine is of a very quiet, sensitive nature in order to encourage assertiveness. If your child is already assertive I would still recommend this book to engage them in active thinking. Overall I only have positive things to say about this book.