2016年3月8日火曜日

家族の時間と批判的思考法・Family time and critical thinking



夕食時間に家族と一緒にテレビを見る?最近、日本人と結婚しているイギリス人の男の話を聞こえた。彼らは奥さんのご両親と一緒に東京に住んでいる。夜に彼女とご両親は一緒にテレビを見るのを楽しむ。しかし、イギリス人の男は楽しまない。日本のテレビがつまらなくて(僕は同感)、一緒に夕食を食べたら、テレビを見なくて、話したいと彼は言った。

妙な話だが、奥さんの家族は一緒にテレビを観て俳優さんについて話す時間を大切な時間と考えている。ある夜、彼らはテレビを観ていた時、彼はスマホで彼に興味のあることを見てみたけど、奥さんのご両親にスマホを使わないでと言われた!それを読んだ時、僕はつい爆笑してしまった。
僕の家族の中で、父は「夕食を食べながらテレビを観ない」と言った。家族と一緒に晩御飯を食べて互いに話し合う時間が大切だと思った。僕も心底から同感している。家族は互いに知るのが大切で、そのために話し合うしか方法がないと強く信じる。学校、仕事、政治、趣味、などなどについて話すのは親にとって、子供の成長を確認して、指導する機会を与える。父親にとっては、子供から離れて仕事をするので、話す時間が特に大切だ。父親は気をつけないと、気づかないで、子供がだんだん変えていて、どんなように変えているか知らないだろう。

技術はどんどん変えていくけど、親にとっての課題はあまり変わっていないな。僕の子供の頃、父はテレビを消した。今、責任ある親はテレビとスマホも消すと思う。残念ながら、家族と一緒に話す時間の大切さがわからない親が多い、アメリカでも日本でも。夕食時間、そのイギリス人の家族は彼の赤ちゃんの娘さんを見て、「ほら、テレビを観ている!かわいい!」と言う。彼らはかわいいと思うけど、彼は怖がっている。

もう一つの話だが、彼は奥さんと「日本文化」について口論した。細部を覚えていないけれど、奥さんは悪い年齢になったので、神社に神主に祝福するのを頼みたいと言った。イギリス人の男性はなぜ悪い年齢なのかと聞いたけど、奥さんは「そう言われるから」と答えた。彼は祝福が入らないと言ったけど、彼女は「もういい」や「日本文化だからわからなくても仕方がない」と言うことで、会話を止めた。

夕食の時間に子供と話さないことのもう一つの不都合な点は子供が親から批判的な思考を学ばないことだ。僕は両親と宗教や政治のことについて議論することが多かった。父は簡単な質問で僕を批判的に考えさせた。それらの議論は10代にも大学校の頃にもそれらの議論は僕の精神的な成長に非常に大事な影響を与えた。

イギリス人の男性の奥さんは家でも学校でもそういう経験が全然なかったので、自分の価値観や行為を批判的に考えさせられる場合があったら、できない。脳は筋肉で、批判的に考える部分が萎縮した。

正直に言えば、僕は子供っぽく行動したり、「もういい」ということで相談を止める日本人の女性から離れたことがたくさんある。大事な会話を止めさせる人を許さない。僕の家族の中に、母は父の変な議論にイライラになったことが多かった。そんな場合、母は「はい、わかった」と言って、父は「なぜイライラしているの?」と聞いた。笑 僕もイライラしたことが多かったけど、「もういい」や「はい、わかった」ということがなかった。父が馬鹿じゃないかと父に言ったことがあったけど、議論を止めさせてみなかった。

僕はそのイギリス人の男性が将来に難しい会話をおくさんと一緒にすると思う。奥さんが育てられたように自分の子供を育てたくないみたいなので、彼は自らを主張することに気をつけないとダメだ。今、幸せだそうなので、家族と一緒に生活のチャレンジに向けて、これからも幸せになると嬉しい。

***

Do you watch TV with your family and dinner time? I recently have heard the story of a British man who is married to a Japanese woman. They live with her mother and father in Tokyo. At night, his wife and her family enjoy watching TV together. However, the British man doesn’t. He says that Japanese TV is very boring (I agree), and that when he eats dinner with them, he wants to talk, not watch TV.

Strangely, his wife’s family considers time watching TV and commenting on the celebrities to be important family time. One night, while they were watching TV, the man tried to use his smartphone to look at things he was interested in, but his wife’s parents asked him to put his smartphone away! When I read that, I couldn’t help but laugh.

In my family, my dad said, “No TV at dinner time.” He felt it was very important for our family to sit and spend time talking with each other. I wholeheartedly agree. I believe strongly that it is important for family members to get to know each other, and the only way to do that is to talk. Talking about school, work, politics, hobbies, etc. helps parents stay up to date with the way their children are growing and gives them a chance to guide them. For a father, it is especially important to have that time because he spends a considerable amount of time away from his children. If a father is not careful, his children will change and he won’t know how they are changing.

It’s interesting how technology has changed, but parental challenges have not significantly changed. When I was a kid, my dad turned off the TV at dinner time. These days, I think responsible parents would turn off their smartphones, too. Unfortunately, many parents don’t really understand the significance of quality time spent talking with their family, whether in America or Japan. At dinner time, the British man’s wife’s family often looks at his baby daughter and says, “Look, she’s watching the TV, isn’t that cute!” They think it’s cute, but he is terrified by that.

Another story he told was about an argument he had with his wife about a “Japanese culture” thing. I can’t remember the details, but his wife wants to go to a shrine to have a priest bless her because she is at a “bad” age. When the British guy asked her why it’s a bad age, she said, “Because that’s what they say.” He said he didn’t think she needed to be blessed, but she insisted that it was “Japanese culture” and that she needed to do it. When he tried to reason with her, asking her questions to understand more about the reasons and why it was so important, she just said, “Enough,” or, “It’s just Japanese culture, you wouldn’t understand,” and didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Another downside of not talking at the dinner table is that children don’t get to learn how to think critically from their parents. I often argued with my parents about religious and political things at the dinner table and other times. My dad often forced me to think critically by asking simple questions. Those arguments were, I believe, a critical part of my intellectual development as a teenager and even into my college years.

Because the British man’s wife had no such experience either at home or at school, when she is forced into a situation where she needs to critically examine and explain her behavior or values, she is unable to. The brain is a muscle, and the critical thinking part of her brain is atrophied.

Honestly, I have distanced myself from many Japanese women that I thought were childish like that or said things like “Enough” in order to end discussions about various things. I simple can’t tolerate people that try to shut down important conversations. In my family, my mom often got frustrated with my dad because he would make strange arguments and wouldn’t admit they were strange. In those situations she would say, “Fine,” to which my dad would ask, “Why are you so frustrated?” lol I often got frustrated with my dad, but neither he nor I ever said, “Fine,” or “Enough”. I sometimes said that he was being ridiculous or even stupid, but I always continued the argument.

I have a feeling the British guy is going to have some difficult discussions with his wife in the future. He doesn’t want to raise his daughter the way that his wife was raised, so he is going to need to be careful about asserting himself in the future. He said he was happy, so I hope him continued happiness as he faces life's challenges together with his family.
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