Is this a poor lesson for life where so often a perfect answer is unattainable or infeasible?
In day to day life we are required to make quick decisions on a regular basis. Many of these decisions we answer with reflex responses, such as when you order your morning coffee and are still one coffee short of being functional, "Regular latte, no sugar please." (Manners are important, Oh wait there is another example!)
In essence our entire decision making process is layer upon layer of these reflex responses that we've learnt over our life time.
Is then, being raised and educated in an inflexible system, conditioning us to try and find the "correct" answer when there are simply some answers better than others. Or, potentially worse, are we biasing ourselves to answer questions according to what we think the other person wants to hear.
I feel that from our day to day experience we can see that the situation is not as bad as the above paragraph makes it sound. In fact, day to day life is probably what teaches us these realities. However some more subtle problems with this approach can surface in how you understand different points of view.
If we assume that there is a correct answer then why should you look at another point of view when you feel that you're correct? Why should you do something differently if the way you're doing it works? Why should I tolerate people who think differently to me?
What should be done differently though? It could be as simple as giving children more responsibilities, in many ways giving them more situations where they may make mistakes. For from mistakes children can learn many important lessons; One is not always right and mistakes are a fact of life and can be recovered from, they should be learnt from so in a best possible experience, it doesn't happen again.
Eventually, after enough experience has been acquired, these life rules learnt from our mistakes and other situations that come our way, 'collected together' can be generalised to solve new problems.
Not restricted to the school class room
So much can be learnt outside of the classroom and provide children the experience to be confident in what they know and understanding to the limits of their experience.
School then can only ever be a fraction of the education that is important for a child and must be implemented alongside the support of parents and sports coaches and those instructing cultural pursuits, teaching music and the like.
Looking at my own family, my parents encouraged us four and facilitated us in taking on responsibilities and gave us life projects to develop ourselves and our abilities to think more critically about the problems we faced.
This attitude in my view, proved to be a good model. It illustrated a strong foundation to help us in dealing with the problems we faced when in the real world once outside the family home.
This seems to me to be the Biblical model from the Deuteronomy 6 teaching about children through to the instructions in the New Testament Epistles where there is a presentation of mutual respect.
Sam Gillespie is a graduate Composition student and a computer programmer doing his Honours year based in Sydney. Sam has composed a number of works.
Sam Gillespie's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html