Fatherly “Wisdom” and 5 Ways to Think Better

Lately we’ve been getting moles in our basement window wells. I remember one other time we had one of these moles, but this summer we’ve had at least four.

Yesterday there were two in one window well and one was allegedly eating a toad, if my daughter’s word is to be trusted. “It was disgusting.” She told me.

“It’s the circle of life, my friend,” were my words of fatherly wisdom.

How a mole eating a toad is a circle of life, I do not know. It seems rather linear to me, particularly for the toad.

Guess I should watch The Lion King and work that one out.

It’s amazing how much of my “fatherly wisdom” makes absolutely no sense. Since my kids attend public schools, it wasn’t til last year one was able to think enough to doubt one of my answers.

I generally respond as their teachers do, “Shush, here, watch a movie.”

My father is the one who taught me “fatherly wisdom.” Now that I am older I have come to realize how much of his fatherly wisdom was also completely inane.

Me: Dad, why is that light there?
My Dad: In case of night.

But my father was not a dumb man. He was a smart man and he was funny. He’d make stuff up. It just came to him. It just comes to me. We can’t help it.

I do this as a service to my children. I want to teach them critical thinking skills. What better way to do that than to make them entirely unsure whether they are getting a straight answer?

Gullibility is a disastrous thing. Notice all the verses in the Bible about paying attention: think, watch, be sober, be vigilant, walk circumspectly, etc. We are constantly hearing lies. Are we smart enough to catch them?

Christians should be known as the world’s best critical thinkers. It is part of our basic beliefs that one of our chief enemies, Satan, is a liar. We’re told that the church has deceivers going about to deceive. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing. That even our own heart is deceptive.

Despite all this, we seem to take everyone’s word for everything.

We follow a Savior who calls Himself “the Truth.” Yet we constantly chuck it and fall for lies.

I don’t know how to get Christians to think better. Part of it is a work of the Spirit, being given the mind of Christ (the Truth). Yet some of it is our responsibility, otherwise He wouldn’t tell us all the time to be sober, vigilant, watching, thinking. Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t believe everyone, especially people you don’t know, and especially people you don’t know on the internet! “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.That’s from the Bible.
  2. Double check. Before spreading that thing you saw, make sure it’s actually real. Snopes.com is a good place to start, although you might want to double check them too. Get your news from several sources.
  3. When reading Christian writing: always check Scripture references! Do they say what the author said it says? Does the context agree? Know the Bible so well you’ll be able to tell upon hearing whether you’re getting the Bible or not. Do not let someone else determine your knowledge of God!
  4. Read books about stuff. Expand your knowledge. Read some science and history. The more of this you know, the less you’ll be taken for a ride by a huckster.
  5. Don’t trust yourself. I know you think you remember things correctly, but you don’t. I don’t either. We get confused. Say “I don’t know” and then go do the work to know. Stay humble. Be teachable. Think. Learn.

My dad trained me to think twice before accepting what I hear. I thank him over and over for this. Or I would anyway, but he’s dead now. I am passing on the tradition to my children.

My children, who once believed that an unbalanced washing machine was a monster in the basement who once ate their dad, are learning to think.

If nothing else, this is a real nice spin to put on the fact that I have no idea how to answer their questions.

Further Reading:

The blessing of Cynicism
Love and Conspiracy Theories
Love Believes all things?