The best shelter from the adolescent storm--and the craziness of the whole wide world--is a brain that works. Here, in observance of election day 2016, is a truncated version of a previous post (and chapter from the upcoming book!) on why it's vital to help our kids learn how to think. #VOTE2016
Our almost-adults will soon be making decisions about where they spend their money, whom they support in elections, and how they conduct themselves in the wide, weird world. Our parental, teaching, and grown-up decree is to give them shelter from the storms threatening to blow them off-course.
So we diagram sentences. We learn the rules of syntax. We write formulaically in the classroom until we can prove a thesis with air-tight precision. It's brutal work, but the minds of our future adults are worth the struggle. When they know how to defend a logical argument of their own (which begins with knowing how to craft a smart sentence), students are more capable of recognizing the fallacies in the arguments aimed squarely at them.
The forces threatening our teenagers--and all of us--are too many to fathom. Nary a parent I know would argue against the importance of fortifying our children's inner strength in the face of all the evils in the world. That strength--that ability to make sound, responsible decisions--begins and ends with understanding the messages we receive and interpreting them wisely.
Let us give our teenagers the shelter of strong backbones and critical minds. The study of rhetoric--which starts with grammar and embraces logical argument--is an excellent place to start.
See you in English class!