Raising a Critical Thinker

an excerpt from “Because of My Guardian Angels”
by Francesca Alicea

Raising a critical thinker was quite a challenge. He always needed an explanation for everything required of him. Even today he questions my advice. But, I’m glad he at least takes the time to seek it.

I should have known I was in for a rough one when his independent play involved a mathematical game he enjoyed as a little tyke.

He would start with 1 +1 is 2, 2 +2 is 4, 4 +4 is 8 and so on. I can’t remember exactly how high of a number his little game reached before he stopped. But I do remember I stopped doing the mental math before he did.

He grew up to be a modest man of few words. But the few words he speaks will stop you, and he’ll surely have your attention.

Yet you’ll never hear him boast of his accomplishments. But this proud mom not only has the memories, but the trophies, medals and certificates to remind him of them for whenever he’s in doubt.

Like being the youngest Chess Champion of his Elementary School.  He was only six when he earned this title, which qualified him to compete in the State Competition.

The state competition was tough, and he had a choice to resign after losing his queen. But instead, he continued with a vengeance and conquered the rude opponent who had smacked his queen off the board.

He won the match and moved on to the next round. That year he placed in the top three in his division in the State.

You’ll never hear from him that he met and received guidance and advice from some amazing Chess Masters. Or that he received State recognition for his performance when he took the SATs in 5th grade. 

I’m also positive that he does not even remember that he received The Paul Robeson Recognition Award for Academic Achievement in High School.

So, to my youngest, the humble, critical thinker and numbers guy, I’d like to say, don’t ever forget the many accomplishments that you may deem as small for they created the man, you are today.

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