The 21st century (what we’ve seen of it so far, anyway) seems to be about creating something new. Technology is ever-changing, and our rich online lives seem to drive us to constantly switch things up, and to think up the next great thing. This is the age of DIY, of entrepreneurship, and of generally thinking outside the box. It’s a little dizzying, but it’s also exciting, and there are things you can do to help your little thinker take full advantage of opportunities to be innovative and creative.
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal as a parent is philosophy. It may seem strange that a practice as old as this one could be crucial in helping children keep up in the digital age, but it’s true. By embracing their love of big “Why” questions, and in giving them a logical framework in which to think through them, you give them both the space and the skills necessary to be a creative, innovative thinker. Here’s how:
- One of the cardinal rules of philosophy is that we must consider new and different viewpoints. That’s not to say that we’re obligated to embrace every thought that comes our way, but we do have to take a close look at it, and see how it holds up. This leaves the door open for all kinds of new and wonderful ideas.
- Philosophy is all about dialogue and discussion, whether it be out loud, on paper, or online. The back and forth nature of philosophy encourages the sharing of ideas, and the sparking of new ones. Two heads (or many heads) are better than one, right?
- Philosophy builds communication skills. Philosophers, by necessity, need to be able to articulate their ideas in a clear and consistent manner. This allows even little thinkers to express themselves, and to put their creative and innovative thinking out there, and be recognized for it.
- Philosophy looks at cause and effect, and consequences. Being creative and innovative is one thing, but seeing the impact that one’s ideas are likely to have is even more valuable. Philosophy gives context to our new ideas, discoveries, and inventions.
- Philosophy is really fun, and when done right, creates a safe learning space in which little thinkers are comfortable and happy to explore. Playing with ideas may seem like kid stuff, but it can help children grow into creative, innovative adults with something truly original to say, and the cognitive skills to make things happen.
The innovative potential of philosophy is what drives us to present it to kids in a variety of formats. Check out our books, apps, games, and DIY at-home materials, and get your little philosopher on the path to really thinking outside the box!