Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 23, 2007
An informed mind is a must today
Changing times means develop a thoughtful attitude
Me and My Church
By KIM HALDANE
Growing up, there were no off-limit topics in my parents' house. At my parents' dinner table topics such as poverty, abortion, genetics, women's rights, science or even whether it would be possible for Superman to turn back time (if he flew around the world, backwards, super fast) were all breached at the dinner table.
Eating dad's famous mac and cheese or mum's delicious chicken stir-fry, my parents would prod our young minds and force them to stretch and think.
It was impossible to have an uninformed opinion in our house, because no matter what you said, my mother or father would automatically poke holes in unacquainted opinions and destroy whatever judgments my nascent young mind had mustered.
Teens vs parents
Now, this is hard for teenagers (and people with parents, in general.) Teenagers, armed by their very genetics and glorious age, know everything. Parents, because they are old and out of touch with most things (my father, for example, still hasn't heard that it is a huge fashion faux-pas to wear work boots and a ball cap, shopping with his daughter), are often referred to, by young savants, as impossible and intolerable.
Sometimes, at the dinner table, hoping for a peaceful and quiet night, where my parents would finally understand my brilliance, I would take on what I reckoned were very Catholic opinions that I thought my devout mother wouldn't question. For example: I would argue: "Cloning is wrong, those mad scientists are playing God."
She would listen to my "inspired" monologue and then when I was done, she would ask a question, forcing me to think, such as: "Scientists claim that cloning will increase the availability of human organs that would match the recipient's DNA. Don't you think God would want sick people to have access to organs?"
"What the heck is DNA," my mind would wonder. This, thankfully and much to my father's chagrin, didn't stop me from carrying on my heated monologue and trying to get the other young savants (a.k.a. my brothers) on side to inform the aged (a.k.a. my parents) about my revolutionary realizations.
Forced to reason
What is important from this discussion is my parents forced me to think beyond the obvious level. They wouldn't let me say "the Church says cloning/abortion/war/The DaVinci Code is wrong, so it is. End discussion."
Rather, they forced me to investigate, to find out more about the topic, and to figure out exactly what my opinions and beliefs were and most importantly to know why the Church said something is wrong.
Access to such search engines as Google and Yahoo have put a lot of information and answers, questionable and otherwise, at our finger tips.
Now this increased access to information is a double-edged sword because anyone who can type can find out pretty much anything; it has made school research projects a breeze and helped sick people find out about available treatments.
But on the other edge of the sword is the fact that your son's research project about zebras may bring up unwanted or inaccurate information, or when you are researching treatments for your mother's illness you may think you have found a cure, when really you have found a high-school science project gone wrong.
Now that we live in this information age, we have to accept our duty to become critical thinkers. This means we need to begin to question and understand our values and beliefs and realize, as said by Alvin Toeffler, that "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
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