The Importance of Teaching Children to Think!
Recently I have been reading a very interesting book called Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, Professor of Global Health. The byline – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things are Better than You Think – describes in a nutshell what the book is about. In it, Professor Rosling explains how everyone, from factory workers to university professors, United Nations officials, world bankers and aid agency workers, consistently view the world as a worse place than it is.
When asked about global trends in health, education, prosperity, child deaths, disasters and other indicators of wellbeing, we consistently get it wrong due to systematic biases in our thinking. The result is pessimism and a lot of needless worry. This is not to say there is nothing to be concerned about as there clearly are concerns about issues such as climate change, but when we over-emphasize the bad and ignore the improving, we open ourselves up to anxiety and defeatism.
The understanding that we have biases in our thinking is not new. Aaron Beck, psychiatrist, pointed out that the negative bias we have is a major driver of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. One of the goals of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is to address these biases.
Another key contributor in this area is Edward De Bono, a Maltese physician who wrote the book Mechanism of Mind, way back in 1976, followed by many others including Teach Yourself to Think in 1990 and Six Hat Thinking in 1999.
One of things that we can do as parents is to help our children (and ourselves) to think clearly. This will be one step towards better mental health, which is one of the biggest worries of young people. You can check out the following website for ideas: