In response to the post on the Scepti-kids, regular correspondent Luxinvestor was moved to relate her own similar experience in which some teachers, and her Dad in particular, were able to give her the ‘gift of thinking‘. She says:
I have a lot of teachers to thank who took the same type of initiative. And my Dad, for undoing the Sunday School damage each and every week.
Having a mom who grew up in the church, you can understand her believing that her child possibly burning in hell was a true fear for her. God was a big part of my youth. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night at the Mega church (actually built in the shape of a crown, on the top of a hill mind you) spent being told to be good or else burn for eternity.
But, what I saw as just fun time with Dad the engineer was really learning to question everything. Even Sunday school teachings. To understand the why’s to what my eyes see everyday. My questions were rarely answered by him. I was directed to a primitive Google, known as the library. If my answer was still wrong, I was sent back. That taught me how to properly research and not just believe the first answer that seemed right. And, to show my work. Despite a few calls to poison control, I was still allowed to experiment freely.
He fostered a love of science and critical thinking through PBS afternoons, Carl Sagan specials, science fiction stories (still my favorite genre of books) and a life long subscription to Popular Science/Mechanics. It was fun. It didn’t seem like I was being taught. Unlike the hell fire and damnation of the church.
Needless to say, the Pastor of my mothers church found me exasperating. I demanded to know how these “miracles” were possible. “Have faith” just wasn’t cutting it. Once I was old enough to decide church wasn’t for me, I did investigate the “spiritual” sides of life, herbals and all other types of pseudo-science. Who wouldn’t? It’s sounds awesome! So easy, you don’t have to learn anything. Until you realize it’s complete crap and would probably kill you.
I am thankful to have been given the gift of thinking for myself and to never be afraid to demand proof. He opened the door but let me make my own evidence based choices. These lesson I still use everyday.
Excellent contribution, thanks Luxi.
It’s exactly the sort of thing we need to be doing with kids, but it takes guidance and mentoring and Luxinvestor was lucky enough to get enough of both to break through.
I’m happy to post any similar stories from other readers, so please send them in.
The other take-aways from this story are that 1. Dads are cool, and, 2. Engineers are cool. Just sayin’.