It’s an important distinction we need to recognize, especially when parenting. “What” feels like memorizing the particular facts or beliefs without really addressing the “Why” or “How” we arrived there.
These “What” topics could be the big ones too: religion or politics or the other potentially hot button issues we can face.
But the question is: do we really want our kids to just unquestioningly go along with what we believe? What happens if (when) we aren’t the ones who have the most influence in their lives?
Helping them to understand the “Whys” of what we believe is important. And showing or guiding them along to determine How we got to these conclusions. A framework for making logical decisions based on facts and good sources will benefit them — all of us — way more than memorizing what to believe.
The best way we can do this is by doing it ourselves, diving into topics and being willing to admit “I don’t know” when we’re faced with complex questions we don’t have the answer to right now. And it’s ok to embrace uncertainty and gray areas in these things and, maybe, that ambiguity will always be there.
Most important, we need to accept them if they arrive at some different answers than we did ourselves. Because at the end of the day, in comparison to our relationship with them, everything else pales.