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Thinking and Rest

Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and A...

Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle would become highly revered in the medieval Islamic world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the years of working with The Lost Tools of Writing and especially through the Apprenticeship and the LTW Mentor, I’ve learned that you really can watch people think and that there really are patterns that work and patterns that don’t.

At first I accepted that on faith. I trusted the tradition because it had worked so well for so long. But one thing I was a little uncertain about was how on earth the old Greeks could have figured out in so much detail and precision those patterns of thought that are universal and universally effective.

The general answer is that they

1. Argued
2. Used language to do so
3. Paid attention to how language was being used

The Greeks made plenty of mistakes, but what Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle achieved just by paying attention to our use of words leaves me both breathless and indebted. Now we are watching our children become thinkers. And it is exhausting.

Which answers another question for me. Why did nobody develop a Lost Tools of Writing program earlier?

Now I might know. It seems that nobody really believed, as I do, that parents and teachers are willing to do the exhausting work to (not implement a pre-digested program but to) learn how to think and to teach thinking to their children and students.

It takes time. It takes faith. It takes patience. It takes a certain sort of anxiety.

But it pays for itself, it rewards your faith, it cultivates wisdom, and it allows you to teach from a state of rest.

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