I am part of an elite group of people on this planet just because I have the experience of being aware of and using my critical thinking skills and abilities like a samurai swordsman on a mission. That’s it. I am not a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger with the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles (but my Dad was). That is as elite as I am. To the degree that I understand and use my critical thinking skills in a worthwhile goal-directed way, like or as an entrepreneur.
Entrance into this group is both easy and hard. It depends on you largely, but if it is a young child we are talking about, then it depends on the parent, or in extraneous circumstances a foster parent and adjoining professional team members working with that child, (happens all the time).
Being able to think critically… to be aware of that…and to use it as wisely as possible is better than all the silver and gold in the bank.
Constructing and scaffolding ideas into actual actions during my 1:1 coaching with a child, or adult with autism, mild executive function skill deficits, or ADHD/ADD, helps me put together a game plan on how to ‘move the football down the field’ like an All-Star… over and over again. This requires critical thinking.
Critical thinking can be directly developed by integrating the following activities in a visual planning map, or simple ‘to do list’:
- Role-playing right way, wrong way of behaving and acting across challenging circumstances. Adults can 1st act out role of wrong way, while the child or adult who is being coached acts as the voice of reason and common sense. Second round the one being coached plays the silly, wrong way, and the coach, adult, parent plays the voice of reason and common sense. Last, we do the ‘arm on the shoulder talk with short, positive, bottom-line recap of lesson you are teaching. Wait for right moment to do end-time recap.
- Writing: Getting a child to start writing a blog that is content-focused on an appropriate interest is not far-fetched. Teach them to write something and pick a photo to bring out something in their writing. Start at one sentence if that is what can be managed. If your child is three years old, on the autism spectrum and has fine motor coordination challenges, have them draw and color their image and you be the ‘big boy or big girl’ and go ahead and scan it, upload it and have it available for placing it in that blog post. This is a growth hack I just gave you… free of charge… I guess. How so? Getting them to acquiesce to blog writing or typing is a feat in itself. You going ahead and having their art work go on-line with their… storytelling is an ‘over the rainbow’ move that can really motivate them to continue adding to their…. God forbid at three years of age with autism, but…. adding to their growing professional portfolio! Lastly, being taught how to organize thoughts and ideas onto a paper or writing work requires critical, methodical awareness and careful consideration of a conglomerate of metrics as one plows on through the start, development and conclusion of their writing work.
- Dancing leads a person to practice control and self-expression of their body that integrates about thirty executive function skills. The same thirty required for critical thinking skills. So I am growth hacking by cross-training using an activity that is basically always en vouge. I role-model how to dance.. how to move your body effortlessly to a beat, how to innovate with new dancing expressions according to the music. Sometime it is possible to move a person’s soul with this activity, but you have to bring your A-Game. But Coach Bill…critical thinking skills… how does dancing… shaking your body to superficial top 10 hits lead to the development of critical thinking skills? Please be so kind to answer:)Well, a critical, well-informed thinker would know that dancing is a full-on self-regulating, creative, and very expressive activity that releases energy, communication, increases restfulness, and clears the mind. Likewise, fluid dancing is not easy. It takes years of practice to learn how to really dance beyond moving ‘side to side’ and ‘clapping your hands.’ But it certainly starts there.
- Chess. Chess is the ultimate master critical thinking game requiring foresight, as well as almost all thirty-thirty five or so EF skills. Thinking like a chess player is the epitome of a lack of impulse control and lack of sustaining attention, both of which are common deficits in people with executive function skill deficits and/ or ADD/ADHD or autism.
So I actually growth hack each of my tools and strategies like a fearless, full-blown entrepreneur. I practice being single-mindedly focused on traction and forward momentum that is beholden to the development of the coach-student caring relation (firm, but loving and kind).