Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to think critically, question everything, use logical perspective, and above all, seek to cultivate common sense…for the rest of your life.
This is no one-week, learn-a-new-skill mission, folks.
There have been quite a number of topics and thoughts brewing in my head recently, and one common theme is quite simply common sense.
Perhaps I’m naïve, but I’d like to think I have a healthy dose of common sense, whereas it seems like many around me are lacking.
The conversation on Facebook when I mentioned the phrase kind of confirms my suspicion: That common sense isn’t common anymore. It’s practically become something that needs to be taught (not to you, of course).
Choose Your Own Side
Swallowing something anyone tells you – even me, dear kitchen stewards! I’m just a (frightfully busy and multitasking) human being – is not a good idea without examining it on all sides first.
If you read an opinion, are given some research to back something up, stumble across a new diet, read warnings about something on the market, or generally are trying to figure out, “What do I eat? What do I buy?” then you need to make sure you can find and understand all the sides of the story.
For example, one of my former students, now a junior in high school, contacted me this spring as a source for a school project he was doing on organic meat. Although I know the choices I make for my family, I also know I’m still muddling through the issue and don’t know everything. I had a great time answering his questions, but I also wanted him to be well-rounded in his research and not just seek out a source that would support his opinion.
I sent him to my longtime challenger here at Kitchen Stewardship, “Tonya,” who always brings the voice of big agriculture (and little agriculture) to the conversation whenever I talk farming. I knew she would be overwhelming for him, but I felt it was important not to let him get away with one-sided research. In order to be your own person and choose your side, you have to know what they all look like. Once a teacher, always a teacher!
Asking the Questions
If this post is “Common Sense 101,” our curriculum goal is to learn to ask the right questions.
When evaluating any information, I like to step back and ask things like:
- What is the source? Personal opinion, expert in the field, actual scientific research? If research, how big was the study? Was it peer-reviewed? The more sources, the better – always.
- Who stands to gain from the information? Follow the money…
- How does this line up with what people did a hundred or two or three hundred years ago? I believe in a just God who created the world for His beloved children; how does this information reconcile with a benevolent Creator? (Yes, some will say that any faith is in opposition to logic, that faith is the antithesis of common sense. My senior year high school term paper, for an atheist teacher, was on the subject, “God exists.” Logic can get you to God, but it does still take a leap of faith to get to religion. I choose to take that leap. Period.)
- What are the long-term effects? Does anyone know the long-term effects?
- How does my personal experience and the experiences of my family and friends reconcile with this information?
- What are the risks of either side? The benefits?
- Is there anything immoral involved?
- Is the person giving me the information open to other ideas, or are they so attached to their belief that constructive discussion will never happen?
- What do the naysayers say? Dig as deeply into the “other side” as you do into the side that seems right at first.
- Can I sustain it, or will this new information suck all the joy out of life and have unintended repercussions?
- Does it make sense? Does it fit into the big picture?
I’m quite looking forward to talking about things like white flour, sun exposure, traditional foods, new (fad?) diets, and American obesity with you this week, all through my hyper-critical lens of…common sense.
We’ll seek the balanced middle ground together (or the far end of the spectrum, if it’s sensible and correct!) and have fun – and good discussion, I imagine – doing it.
The Common Sense Posts
Here’s what we’re talking about:
- Strawberries: Do They Have to Be Organic?
- That Whole Grains Question: Is it Time for “To Soak or Not to Soak?”
- Balancing Sun Exposure with Sun-O-Phobia
- How Much is Too Much? (if you eat eggs, almonds, coconut…you’re going to want to explore this post)
- …more coming!
Sale on Common Sense
No, common sense can’t really be bought, but Common Sense Health can. This eBook by Laurie Neverman has captivated my eyes today (when I was supposed to be writing). She has the most concise, compelling, and dare I say, sensible arguments for lots of things, from organic gardening (I learned a ton of new tricks) to earthing to avoiding GMOs (a subject I may just have become truly scared of). I learned more in a few minutes about dry brushing and the benefits of cold showers than I would have imagined, and I have a few pages marked to show my husband when he gets home.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to the eBook from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.
Common Sense Health 25% off
Need More Baby Steps?
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