Question: How do we help a child not to fall into groundless philosophy, but rather examine and verify everything practically?
Answer: This is exactly the kind of approach to life that we should be methodically teaching to a child by providing examples thereof. A child tends to trust what an adult tells them. But we have to teach him or her to verify everything.
You should explain to the youngster: “If I told you something, how can you be sure you’ve heard it right? By the same token, how can you be sure that I know what I am talking about and tell you how it really is? After all, grownups also err; anyone can make a mistake! It is your job to verify what you are told, which is a sole basis of your advancement.”
You may ask how will he grow up then if he doesn’t believe what the teacher tells him? But he should believe us only inasmuch as to do the exercise we are giving him. But it is his job to learn from this exercise what is right and wrong. He should only believe that it is worthwhile to do this exercise to make his own conclusions later on.
In other words, we must teach a child to search for answers on his own based only on his own life experience. Otherwise, he will learn to trust everything we say and will think that everything that is written in the newspaper is absolutely true.
We read a newspaper and subconsciously receive everything it says as facts since this is what we were taught in childhood: to respect a printed word. But if we dig into it, we’ll see that everything is dictated by mere greed and is cut to order. We, however, take it at the face value and gain information from this source. We don’t need to teach a child that, do we?
We ought to teach him to use thorough critical thinking skills when it comes to everything life throws at him so that he never takes somebody’s word for it. He must verify everything first! He should accept another’s “expert” opinion but only to make one next, independent step forward.
As to the rest of it, lay down a rule: Make judgments solely based on evident facts for it is written: “A judge only has what his eyes can see.” Children tend to gravitate to fantasy, but all of it should be channeled into verifying it. Each fantasy needs to be checked. It is great that a child has vivid imagination, but it has to be founded on evidence.
The only exception is what lies in the realm of inspiration, art: singing, painting, and culture. Culture has no relation to science and doesn’t have such heavy restriction; therefore, it can work with imagination alone. But it isn’t in any way connected with life principles. Culture is above knowledge and reason since it derives from the search for the Upper One, the Creator. Therefore, art should be separated from egoistic desire.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/9/2011, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”