Want to Raise a Truth-Seeker? Aim to Have No Opinions!
Your child is growing up in a world of liars. It is mind-numbing how many people in the media and online are simply twisting the truth. It gets even worse around elections and wars. How do you help your students discern the truth AND love it as well?
It may seem a bit odd, but I have a personal aim of having no opinions and worked to instill this path in our kids. Of course, I can’t help it, I do have opinions (and lots of them); but I know of nothing that helps me more in the relentless pursuit of the truth than this approach.
Now, before you go haywire, understand that I’m a Bible-believing Christian who has been in the hot pursuit of truth for around 4 decades. Frankly, I don’t think the Bible is a book of opinions…instead, I’d say it’s a book of facts. If God wrote it, and He is right, then ‘facts’ is the right word.
Facts deal with what is true and what matches reality.
Opinions are about viewpoints not necessarily based on facts or knowledge.
The problem arises when we form an opinion and ARGUE about it like it’s a fact. I can tell you as one with a doctorate in Applied Theology, lots of my peers spend endless amounts of time and energy arguing their theories (theologies) as though they are facts.
When we learn to separate the two, we can start using amazing phrases like, “I could be wrong,” and “I don’t know, but I’d guess…” This adds humility and clarity to our lives because we aren’t over-dominating the communication. We also get better at pointing out facts, which people really have to (usually) agree with!
So, in parenting and education, my recommendation is to help establish this distinction so we can tone down the conflict and tune in to the truth. The opinions we have could have a good basis in logic and evidence, but until we KNOW…shouldn’t we just admit it’s our best guess for now as we seek the truth.
Frankly, this is the subtle side of John 8 where Jesus declares, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” It is freeing to me to know The Truth and lots of the facts on earth that are true.
Off to learn,
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand