Think about this for a while: Whatever happened to thinking?
No really, think about that a little longer before moving on.
Now that you have given that question some thought, let’s move on.
For the discussion that follows, we will dispense with two words and not use them, but rather treat them as illegal for the purposes of our thinking.
The words are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Why am I apparently dispensing with them?
Because right and wrong are really subjective rather than objective. Even if we speak of right and wrong as we find it in the Bible, that is subject to our interpretation of what the words mean to the individual; how they should be applied, how and if they transfer across cultures, and so on. The nett result is that right and wrong is not a good foundation on which to start. Let me give you an example that will resonate with parents.
When a male toddler begins to touch and play with his penis, is it ‘wrong’?
It may be culturally unacceptable, but is it ‘wrong’?
It may be embarrassing if other people see him doing it, but is it ‘wrong’?
I have heard such parents scolding the boy because it was ‘wrong’ – but even worse, I have heard a parent scolding the boy because it was ‘dirty’ and therefore it was ‘wrong’; but was it really ‘dirty’ or ‘wrong’?
The child was exploring his own body – is that ‘wrong’?
Parents need to be so careful about using the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and they should rather speak of that which is appropriate (for an occasion) or acceptable (on that occasion) and explain why – rather than just resorting to saying that it is ‘wrong’ or ‘dirty’.
All of that is why we will not use the words ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ in the discussion that follows.
In order to help us learn to think more deeply now, we will explore a number of subtopics and consider them briefly before forming conclusions or making recommendations.
We must acknowledge the importance of consequences. All of our words and actions have consequences, whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, and whether we care or not.
Consequently, consequences always affect our relationships. To be ignorant of consequences is to be making choices in ignorance.
As children grow they see things differently from the way they did before. Their worldview is constantly changing and their beliefs and values are often being updated, or even revolutionised. An important part of their growth is to see that the world does not revolve around them and their lives, and also that other people have value, too. Yesterday’s way of seeing things was not ‘wrong’ – it was just appropriate for yesterday and not today.
Maturity is that which we always seek but never attain. No matter how old we are as adults, there is always more to discover, there is always more to learn, and there is always more to experience. Our constant growth towards a greater maturity often looks back and recognises where immaturity once held sway. That immaturity was not ‘wrong’, it was just immature.
Assumption is the mother of deception and we must never forget where assumption begins. Assumption is the death of a thousand cuts that laid exploration on the altar as a sacrifice. Assumption despises experience and dismisses it as an unnecessary waste of time and effort.
One growth area that children can find both comfortable and uncomfortable is the aspect of being part of a community. Where once there was only their immediate family – although they took some getting used to! – suddenly there was a plethora of people that they were exposed to, with lots of noise, mess and intrusion upon their senses.
As children grow, they begin to separate fantasy from reality. They begin to realise that their wishes and wants are not always granted, and that what they did not wish for or did not want sometimes happens. They come to realize that the world around them is not focused on them. Their concept of reality is being radically transformed.
As adults, we have formed opinions on many things, and those opinions have been shaped and honed by many people and many circumstances. It may come as a shock to realize that the world is not waiting with baited breath to hear our opinions, and neither are the people with whom we spend our days and nights.
How do we grow and mature in the thinking that forms our opinions? How do we experience new concepts, new ideas, and new realities? How do we know what is possible but yet currently lies beyond our understanding and experience? How do we stop being self-centered and transform into a new way of being and doing?