Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Nine Ways to Walk Around a Boulder

All of us face "boulders" in our lives — challenges that make it difficult for us to achieve our goals. In Nine Ways to Walk Around a Boulder: Using Communication Skills to Change Your Life Juliet Erickson provides simple, effective strategies for getting around a boulder. At the heart of these strategies is the issue of communication.

There are lots of communication books available and they vary in quality, as you would expect. Erickson's little book provides clear, practical explanations of communication techniques including understanding your own communication styles; dealing with conflict; listening in order to learn; how to effectively ask for things; paying attention; the use of silence; and much more.

Erickson is a great writer making communication theory interesting and practical with numerous case studies illustrating the concepts. Erickson approaches communication skills realistically with a recognition that none of us are perfect and the advice she provides is within the reach of anyone.

If you are looking for a simple, practical, fresh book on communication then check Nine Ways to Walk Around a Boulder out. The title says it all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Christians Develop Critical Thinking Through Education

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of online bible colleges. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com.

The Bible tells us that God created us in his own form, that he made us flesh and blood creatures who could think as well. If one were to go by the Book of Genesis, the fruit of knowledge that Adam and Eve ate on the sly is the result of all that is mankind today. Not for nothing has it been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But not all knowledge is bad; in fact, it’s the way we think that influences our actions. Our thought process defines who we are, so it’s important to be able to think rationally and with a critical mental eye.

As Christians, we are taught since childhood to follow the word of the Lord and practice his teachings and values in our day to day lives. And when we go through the path of education, we learn to think rationally and critically. More importantly, through critical thinking, we develop:

  • Tolerance for fellow human beings: With critical thinking comes an open-mindedness that is helpful when we have to co-exist with hundreds of other people, most of who are of different religions and cultures. We learn how to tolerate them and accept them for who they are rather than despise them for who they are not. When we are more accepting, we are more at peace with ourselves and this helps in developing spirituality.
  • The ability to judge between right and wrong: Critical thought empowers us to judge between right and wrong, no matter what biases we bear in mind. Education opens our minds to a different level of thinking, one that goes beyond preconceived notions and prejudices and allows us to determine for ourselves (without the influence of others) what is good and what is bad and what is in between.
  • The ability to raise relevant questions and push for their answers: When you’re a good Christian, you need to constantly question your values and your conscience to determine if you are on the right path as chosen by our Lord. Critical thinking that is gained through education allows you room for self-introspection and subsequent self-improvement. You are not blinded by the belief that you are faultless; instead, you look for ways to better yourself.

Education is very important in order to succeed in life, and Christian schools and colleges do a good job of helping to develop your critical thought process.

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