Around this time a three years ago, I went to a workshop at the home of a friend who had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Most of the people he invited to this workshop were in community leadership roles of one type or another. They were school administrators, senior staff from a nonprofit where he had served on the board, former and current elected officials, and a minister, among others. Hosting this particular workshop for this group of community leaders was one of the things he felt he needed to do before dying.
The workshop topic? Critical thinking.
According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking,
“Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. If we want to think well, we must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. We must learn how to take thinking apart.”
My friend wanted to make sure these leaders he invited into his home would take care of his community in a thoughtful and rational way long into the future. He knew critical thinking was essential for the work ahead. He wouldn’t be there with us, but he could give us some tools for the work before he was gone.