Dependent and Independent Thinkers

In a dialogue I had with couple of my dear community, we reached to an interesting concept that can direct  the way we raise of children. We have noticed, as parents, that our action and attitude towards our kids can promote one of two types of thinkers: the dependent thinker who strive to collect their thoughts, ideas and knowledge by absorbing them from others. The independent thinkers is those who create their own ideas by themselves through observations, interactions and reflections and they do not wait for others to show/dictate/ them how.

Relating the above to sociological dynamics, the first type, i.e. the dependent thinkers, are the “believers” who follow tradition and the norm of their community of practice or culture. The second type, i.e. the independent thinkers, are the “scientists” who rely on observation and analysis of patterns around them to create their own understanding the parameters of life.

Unfortunately current religious practices, especially in Islam, convert the believers, or the dependent thinkers, into a lower form of thinkers. Al Jabiri calls then: the resigned thinkers. I.e., those who disassociate reality from reason completely and just follow what the usually devious elders to set the route of life for them.

Creating independent thinkers happens when parents get  less involved in the upbringing of their kids between the age of infancy and toddler-hood. By letting them free to discover their world on their while providing: love, support and a set of values that governs their principles.

In my case, the set of values I provided my son during his youth were: (1) Don’t spend money unless you earned  it, (2) Don’t get involved in any act the render your reason faculty useless, (3) Don’t be involved in activities that might result in loss of life and (4) Make mistakes, but never do the same mistake twice.

Reflecting on my son, I find that he has added many values to the  above set. If I choose one from his set to add to mine, it would be: (5) Be compassionate.