Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Story on Critical Thinking Skills

I'm a big proponent of teaching kids critical thinking skills.  As the saying goes, it's important to teach kids how to think instead of what to think.  I strongly believe this country and this planet would be much better off if critical thinking skills were much more wide spread across communities than they currently are.  Critical thinking skills are used all throughout one's life if one knows how to use them..  The other day I ran across a scenario in which I was required to use my critical thinking skills to solve a problem.

When pulling out of the garage for work I pushed the button on my garage door opener and nothing happened.  The door would not close.  My first guess was a dead battery in the opener.  I got out of the car and went into the garage to close the door using the hard wired opener on the wall.  Before leaving for work, I tested the opener in the other car and it didn't work either.  I tested the wireless opener on the outside of the garage and it didn't work either.  That was odd.  That led me to conclude it wasn't a battery issue, but somehow all of the codes were erased.  Oh well, I've had to program the codes a few times in the past, so when I get home, I thought, I'll do it again.

When I got home I erased any stored codes, deciding to start from scratch.  Programming a garage door opener is very easy and takes about 30 seconds.  The code wouldn't take.  I tried the wireless opener.  No luck.  Odd.  Then I started thinking.  Over the weekend, I replaced the light bulb on the garage door opener as it had gone out.  I had an LED bulb, so I put that in.  I figured the light bulb couldn't be the problem, but since that was the last thing I did before the garage door openers stopped working, I took the light bulb out.  Voila!  The garage door openers programmed no problem.  I put the LED bulb back in and the openers wouldn't work.  I replaced the LED bulb with a fluorescent bulb and the garage door openers worked.

I have no idea why the LED bulb was the problem.  Drawing too much current for the openers to work?  A bit odd since they draw less current than the other bulbs.  Regardless, a bit of critical thinking saved the day.  I honestly had no idea what the problem was, but decided to trouble shoot to see if I could figure it out.  Critical thinking skills saved a call to a repair person along with $100 or so just to be told it was the light bulb.  :-)

The point here isn't to brag about my critical thinking skills.  Heck, if I knew more about repairs, I probably could have saved half the time it took me to figure out the problem!  The point is to stress how critical thinking skills are used and needed every day.  Promoting these skills in young children will help them to grow into adults who use critical thinking skills in all aspects of life.  These skills are woefully underused in society today and as a result we are not progressing as a species as quickly as we could.  In may ways (e.g. climate change, women's rights, equality) we are stepping backwards as a result of less than adequate critical thinking skills.

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