How We Become Independent Thinkers

Questions & answers & more questions
Questions & answers & more questions

Maybe we Misunderstood?

It has occurred to me more than once that the concept of becoming an independent thinker can easily be explained. In fact, I came to the conclusion that it's pretty much cut and dry. When something is obviously simple, what is it about human beings that pushes us to complicate things? Let's not play that game today. Follow me as I keep it as simple as it actually is. Follow the bouncing ball of life's progression.

From the time we're able to communicate and begin to learn what life is all about, as children we do a lot of listening and mimicking. If our parents take their responsibilities seriously, they teach, guide and explain continuously about every little thing. We in turn, ask endless and sometimes difficult questions. This pretty much puts our parents on the spot but most of them come up with acceptable least for the time being. Our parents are our gods and our number one source for information until we begin to socialize, attend school, learn to read and get out into the world to some extent. By this time as independent little people, we begin to see and hear a whole lot of things that don't necessarily jive with what we had learned up to that point. We discover some of our friends have entirely different takes on the same thing.

So what's up with this? It can get a little confusing but what's really happening is that we're continuing the learning process. At this point we're learning that not everyone is the same. Eventually we see that it's important to listen and share information with everyone else, in order to get to know people and most of all, to get along. Soon our friends become our gods and we learn to bond with our peers because in many ways, they make more sense than our parents do. Plus, they're a lot more fun and don't have the power to ground us.

By the time we're teenagers, we don't seem to ask as many questions,because as far as we're concerned, we already know all there is to know. We also don't often listen to arbitrary advice, especially from Mom and Dad. After all, so much of what they tell us doesn't always match up with what other people say and do. And anyway, we ask out loud why don't they like all our friends? Why do they think some of our friends are OK but others are not? We like them all. What's wrong with that? At sixteen, there's little doubt that we feel our parents should just mind their own business. We can handle our own life.

I'm a chess why am I not on the chess team?
I'm a chess why am I not on the chess team?

Moving right along....

Are you with me so far? Of course you are. What's not to understand? Let's move on.

We become really involved in High School. Some of the students are real geniuses, some are just average and then there are the few who just show up and do nothing. The A-students like all the teachers, the average ones only like some of the teachers and the failing students think all the teachers are big jerks. We don't know how we feel exactly, so we wait to see what our friends think and say before we make up our mind.

We might think it would be a great idea to run for class president but a few kids tell us we don't have a chance. There's a role to try out for the school play and an open spot on the chess team but we take so much time deciding, we lose the opportunity. Why didn't someone tell us what to do? What kind of parents, teachers, friends do we have anyway? How are we supposed to know what to do and when to do it? Whatever made us think we had all the answers?

Right about this time we find we're really attracted to someone and it looks like they sort of like us too. We're not really sure though, so we figure out a clever way to find out if they really like us. Who wants to be made the fool or worse, get shot down? That's when we implore the help of a friend. We ask them to do us a favor and ask this person if they have a date for the Prom and by the they like "so & so?" It's always so nice to have someone do the hard work for us. This way we take no chances. We learn to depend on others because we can't trust ourselves. Wait a minute. Did we just say that?......Is that good or bad? Sometimes we just don't know what to think, so we don't think at all. That settles that.

How do I get out of this trash can?
How do I get out of this trash can?


(Really? Do we have to work??) C'mon, we all know the answer to this. It's simple common sense. Basic survival, my friend.

When school lets out in June, a lot of our friends find a summer job, so we do that too. We try to think about what we want to do and where to apply but we can't be sure. How do we know what's available? Who should we ask?

You know sometimes we just get lucky and something falls in our lap. Our parents have a friend who manages a fast food joint, so they get us a job.....just like that.....magic! We learn to believe that some things in life require no effort, no thinking, no sweat. Cool.

This is where it gets a little tough. There's a lot to learn and hours of training. We might have to think on our feet and think fast too. After all, we're working in a fast food place, right? Things go well for the first few days as we're shown where everything is, how to work the register, treat the customers and keep on smiling. When we're left on our own, the panic sets in and we find that we need to ask a lot of questions and run to the trainers for support and reminders. We might even resort to begging another new employee to help us. Well, the thing about this is that everyone is busy and trying to do their best and hoping to keep up with the flow. If we're tailing these people and bombarding them with questions, their mood can get pretty ugly. One of them might even spin around and scream at us, "For cryin out loud, figure it out for yourself!!"

Figure it out for yourself? Is this person serious? What the heck does he mean? If we knew we had to think on our own, we wouldn't have taken this job. This seems completely unfair and unrealistic to us. Am I ready to think for myself? This is just great. Now we figure we may as well expect to being fired pretty soon for screwing up so much, so often. If no one is willing to help us think, it's inevitable, right?

We might suffer through and make enough money to buy some school supplies but we can't wait til summer is over. In fact, we can't wait til we graduate and can get away and go to college out of State. We're chomping at the bit to be the boss of our own life and do whatever we want to do without listening to any crap from anyone. That's what we want.....and we want it yesterday.

Yeeee-Ha!  We made it.
Yeeee-Ha! We made it.

Off we go...and it's really the wild blue yonder!

The summer after High School graduation becomes a really special time. It's pretty important in so many ways. We're working another summer job, hoping to sock some money away for college cash. There's all our friends we want to say, "Goodbye," to and how much we'll miss them. For maybe the first time, we're feeling different, sort of strange and apprehensive. We actually feel we might miss our parents and siblings....our home, the family dog. We start to feel a combination of excitement and weak-in-the-knees. How do we deal with all this? The best part of that summer, that we're not aware is the best that we come face to face with the person in the mirror. This is intense. There we are looking back at us and knowing that this is the person we have to be with, learn with, encourage, motivate and lean on, for the most part from here on in. Some of us might think this is scary as hell.

A little fear never does as much harm as we may have thought. It might even kick start our brain to go back in time a bit and remember all the the things we've learned. We somehow recall word for word the time when we were twelve and our Dad gave us the lecture about being a team player and respecting the coach. When Mom sat us down to explain that people treat us how we allow them to treat us, so don't allow anyone to bully or badger us, no matter what. We remember the speaker at the school assembly who warned us about the hard core realities of drinking and drugs and how they just mess up our lives, crush the people who love us and destroy our kids end up dead or in prison.

We keep staring into the mirror at our own face and after a while, we almost look like someone else. We feel like we're in a trance but we look older and wiser. How the heck did this happen? Maybe, we wonder, we're dreaming?

No, we weren't dreaming. We were growing up and becoming our own authentic individual. We were coming to terms with being our own best friend. We were facing the reality that in order to follow our heart, we need to know who we are and what we know is right. We're getting really close to accepting that we will do the right things simply because it's the right thing to do....not because someone else told us to or the crowd is doing it.

Yes, it's a shock and it's not always easy. That's why it's imperative we think for ourselves and walk the line we were guided toward....even when we tried not to listen. We're maturing into adulthood and this is all as it's meant to be. The only way it can be. We're beginning to awaken from our sleep-walk thus far. We realize we have a lifetime of thinking and work ahead of us. Our life will be the result of our own choices, our own thought process. The real truth is, we are each a very unique creature of the Universe and only we can shape our destiny.

Think POSITIVE....It works

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Comments 89 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

aesta......Thanks for stopping by. I hear you loud and clear. The "over- protection," may have been a bad idea. It takes a long time and a lot of poor choices in life to come to the rude awakenings we must face.

Hard knocks and determination are our only lesson plans.

Congratulations for making it!

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Paula, I don't low when and How I grew up. It must have been a series of events. I have lived an easy childhood that I grew up much later. We have always been allowed to think for ourselves but within safe confines so when I got out of my safe world, I realized I can't just have my way. I have to learn how to work with others. For me, that was the greatest growth: when I have to put out my thoughts and ideas and learn that others have ideas they think were better, too.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

izettil.....I welcome your curve ball....I hope that I did not completely fail miserably at presenting to my readers a simple stream of rambling thoughts, verbalized by any random adult...

This wasn't meant to be personal (from me to you) nor "factual"....nor even an explanation of "our journey to independent thinking") I was actually coming from that place later on in our lives, where we may begin to reflect on how we arrived at where we are and when we became aware of our break into being "our own person."

izzetil....I do understand from your "younger" perception that it takes longer to break from the need to belong, via peer your era.

To my generation, we are in awe of the level of maturity & confidence in the HS graduates & college students of the last 2 or 3 decades.

"We," the boomers were given explicit direction, road maps and strict rules & regs....(confining & conforming) so to speak. Obviously there's nothing wrong with this, since we seem to have come out just fine (LOL) But, it's a huge contrast from the current vision. So, you and I have different views due to different eras and experiences.

And there's always my final guess: I must be very fortunate to have had 4 extremely independent-thinking sons, with self-motivation and stable maturity levels. They make positive choices and decisions in so many areas of their lives that always benefit them.....where I feel at the same ages, I wasn't even aware I HAD options & choices. You see?

izettl profile image

izettl 19 months ago from The Great Northwest

Well that definitely all sounds ideal and pretty much typical of how it should all go...growing up. First, this was a great break down of childhood development.

BUT I'm going to throw a curve ball- I think school and the journey through it doesn't develop independent thinking. I think it prepares one to learn to follow rules, etc. A lot of independent thinking is lost in school (I believe). It teaches one how to be a good citizen and work with others well, but little for free thinking, etc. Perhaps in high school and college one learns that they are different than others but in high school they are still striving to be like others in some way. College perhaps is the first introduction to independent thinking.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

DJ.....I'm most grateful for your support. You & our wonderful fellow writers are my FIRST reason for being here....and while I'm on that subject:

Dear Ms. Unhindered.....I can only hope that you now "understand" far more than your first statement to me conveys. Having read your Bio (if true & accurate) I am personally bowled over that you claim to have an education in HUMAN BEHAVIOR, of all things.

If you've had the honor of reading any and all comments here and surely on other hubs, we can hope you are now educated in how we communicate with and support one another. As stated by my dear friend DJ, when we feel it important to share criticism with one another, we do it via private email. We welcome & appreciate this.

We are all experienced writers, many of whom are published, award-winning and gifted beyond brilliant. May I suggest you READ and get to know the fabulous Community filled with more talent than any other site anywhere on the web.

It seems unfortunate that you have chosen to begin your involvement here by assuming the position of arbitrary critic. It was not announced that Hubpages was looking for one. I can assure you that we writers are not impressed nor must we tolerate this.

I shall waste no more of my time. If you're serious about being a writer, you will learn much as you move along. The one most important fact is that Hubpages is a Community of the most fabulous human beings on the planet. I wish you luck. Now you'll excuse me I'm sure, so that I am free to ramble on with my opinions elsewhere.

DJ Anderson 21 months ago

I waited, all day yesterday, for you, Paula, to set this rude woman straight. You do not need me to fight your battles for you. But, now

that you have spoken, I will stand in your defense.

To Unhindered:

We are a writing group sharing ideas. We support one another and

share both wisdom and kindness. If something is off-kilter, we send

a private e-mail to suggest that something might be understood better

if it were worded in a different way. NEVER would we admonish a

fellow hubber in such a rude way as you have done.

You may be Unhindered but you come across as Unhinged.

I recommend that you familiarize yourself with proper protocol

on how to conduct yourself, not only on HP, but with human beings.

You have proven your lack of decorum on HP.

A lesson on social etiquette should be your next objective.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Sha.....Your brilliance lights up my life! Thanks for taking time from your busy writing & editing schedule to comment!

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 21 months ago from Central Florida

It seems unhindered woman should hinder her blatant rudeness when commenting on hubs. Being ugly and rude in a public venue does no good. All it does is put simple minds on display.

There are many forms of writing. Academic is only one. What is beautiful about HP is that writers are free to write from their hearts, pull from experience, and offer their perspectives. If all you expect is quotes from other people, or scientific data, feel free to dive into text books and stay out of supportive communities such as this.

Paula happens to be a very good writer who is loved and respected. I'm afraid I can't say the same for anyone who publicly bashes anyone as unhindered woman has done here.

somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 21 months ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

Yes, lending our supreme wisdom to those less fortunate is always its own reward, sort of like allowing an insignificant flea to continue to exist, instead of carelessly squashing it and flicking its crushed bio-matter away.

I always enjoy sharing my awe inspiring knowledge with mortals, it gives me such profound pleasure knowing that others hang on my every word, licking up my omnipotence like a hungry cat at its milk dish.

Your Welcome, carry on!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Maria.....My dear immensely talented friend. Comments from you are like treasures of gold & gems. Hugs, PJ

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

tsad...Linda Sue & blue....Thank you my sweet friends. I can always count on you as the voice of reason and support. I love you all. Hugs, PJ

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 21 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

"So it pretty much just ends up being you rambling on with your opinions."

Ouch, how very rude. In over 10 years of being a college professor, I would never relay feedback so harshly - in a public forum no less.

I, for one, will continue to greatly enjoy Paula's personal reflections and perceptive, independent thinking - no citations needed.

tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 21 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

UW, think about what you just said "we were supposed to provide links to expert sources of information to support whatever we were saying."

The idea of providing sources for factual assertions you make is fine but not any kind of requirement nor does not doing so lessen the literary or informational value of a hub page in any way whatsoever. Anyone is free to research (just Google) any controversial statement a hubber writes that they take issue with and then have ammunition to use against it in your comment or write your own hub page but to criticize someone for giving their opinion without citing an"experts" opinion on the matter is akin to political correctness and just not a legitimate criticism. This is hub pages, not a doctoral dissertation.

I don't care what a writer writes he/she can cite some "expert"or source that supports virtually any assertion so more often than not providing some sort of reference is questionable anyway.

I read Paula's hub page which appears to me to be a heart felt expression of her own life experiences. Did you know colleges are now giving credit for life experience? I think Paula's expertise in life experience qualifies her as an expert, so what more reference do you need?

If your understanding "was that we were supposed to provide links to expert sources of information to support whatever we were saying" instead of simply demeaning her presentation why don't you find something you take issue with and present your "expert" references, put your money where your mouth is, or maybe you didn't even read her piece and can't.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 21 months ago from Orlando, FL

Well now I'm confused. I've been writing for Hubpages for 4 years and very seldom do I see links supporting the facts. What really confuses me is if you are sharing your own personal expert advice or opinion, how do you add supporting links to your own thoughts? Do you post a photo of yourself with arrows pointing to your mind? Dang it, Effer...we've been Hubbing incorrectly for 4 years? Impossible! We are way too perfect for flaws! Keep on hubbin' got it going on! Then again if a hubber is writing an article about say, WWII or Chronic Kidney Diseases, it might be best to post some supporting links. But when one writes from the heart...there are no links, just pure pleasure :)

somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 21 months ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

What constitutes experts opinions or studies, how is science determined?

All studies or so-called 'expert opinions' of a scientific manner is based on recorded observations of experimentation and theory. Science is theory based on observable experiences, much like a person that has lived many years can be considered an 'expert' on life itself.

In this manner certain facts are attained however the public rarely takes into consideration, what the state of mind, mood, feelings and/or many other factors that may distort the 'thinking' of the observer doing the fact finding.

Is not an article any article merely one persons opinion and if you back that up with a study or paper, you're merely employing another person opinion.

I would much more prefer to read one persons opinion that comes from the heart than a dozen so-called experts spouting inane drivel because the Govt. or some other Institution with its own self serving agenda, is paying them to make the facts fit the story.

If you pay them they will literally use any facts to fit the intended agenda and censor out any that don't. People that look to others to supply them with facts an so-called 'expert opinions' are merely folks insecure in their own intelligence seeking to find others to do their thinking for them, that is truly sad . . . God gave us all a brain, please find the courage to use yours.

Good article heffer, keep up the good work!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Judie.....We writers are all unique individuals with our own style & talents. I see you're relatively new here and it's more than clear you need to get around a bit more and read as many hubs as possible.

We don't all write educational articles that require "links" nor do we all have a niche. I've been here 4 years and am extremely pleased with my accomplishments and experiences. Thank you very much.

You may find it helpful to read The Learning Center material entirely, as well as the hundreds of hubs written by Veteran hubbers that are extremely helpful & informational.

If you feel your goal here is to "criticize" other writers or their work, I can promise you that your time here will be one of 2 things: very lonely or short-lived. Good luck with that, Judie.

My intention was to BE conversational. I succeeded. Just exactly what would you like to see to support my thoughts on the ways we learn to think independently? It's just a human interest article.

As you can SEE, I have numerous followers, fans and friends who seriously enjoy my work, as I do theirs. Please feel free to visit any other site you choose. I can assure you I do not appreciate comments such as, "rambling on with your opinions." WHO died & left you Editor in Chief?

If you're into"concrete," become a mason. I could have deleted your rude comment, but I prefer that my fellow writers SEE what sort of person you are...........

Unhindered Woman profile image

Unhindered Woman 21 months ago from Los Alamos, New Mexico

My understanding when I started writing hubs was that we were supposed to provide links to expert sources of information to support whatever we were saying. You started out writing in a conversational manner and I kept waiting for you to refer to some studies or some other expert source and switch over to a more academic style but none ever came. So it pretty much just ends up being you rambling on with your opinions. I'd like to see something concrete to support your statements.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hi peach.....Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your visit. Have a great Hump Day!!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

great and funny hub, i wish my family has something to crack up

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

OK...well thanks, Maria. I may HUG Mr. G. but I'd never even THINK of hubbing him!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 24 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

LOL, You may hub my hubby and hug my huggy or any combination you see fit...and Andy and I thank you for ours are a honey, effer... and yes, my schedule and I are much calmer, silly even...!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hey there cutey.....No worries. I am terribly delinquent myself in reading and commenting and hang my head in shame!.......The WELCOME sign is always shining on our hubs 24/7......Thank Goodness!

Hope your schedule has calmed down a bit!......Hugs to you & G & Andy too......Well, I suppose I shouldn't hub your hubby....I don't even know him. But believe this for sure: I'm Totally Harmless!!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 24 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Paula,

Would you believe Martie told me about this a month ago and I'm still late?! But at least I can hear myself think...LOL!

This is wonderful and thought provoking, just like you...voted UP and UABI and sharing. Love and hugs, Maria

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Martie.....Hi there girlfriend.....Yes, this is Universal and it's been going on since the beginning of time and will continue this same route forever.

Why? Because THIS is the way it is....It's life, human nature and quite simply, they way it was designed to be.

As I look back, I can see a mental video of my life and that of my sons' lives......not very different in essence. The roads are constructed of the same's merely the twists, turns, detours & traffic that changes through the generations.

We're all eventually winding up at our destination....with LUGGAGE!

Love ya, girl.......Peace, Paula

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Well-well-well, only my fellow-Aries, fpherj, can pack out a topic like this. If this was laundry, it has been washed, dried and iron, and now perfectly ready to wear. Brilliant, independent thinking! And this is exactly how we develop into unique individuals. I am still laughing about "... By the time we're teenagers, we don't seem to ask as many questions, because as far as we're concerned, we already know all there is to know." Really, fpher, you have explained this issue called 'learning how to use one's God-given mind' perfectly. Voted up and awesome!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Tillie....LOL .........and FIRST off to you..."Thank You" for visiting. It's always so good to see you. I appreciate the compliment about being "wise beyond my YEARS."....but honestly, this point I think I'm much older than I am wise! LOL. (Besides, this is where some of us start going in reverse....scary!)

You are too good to me. Not only are kids little people who become adults, but I seem to recall going through the same process. I have a tough time realizing my sons got there sooner & better than I did! Talk about role reversals? Lately I can't seem to make a single decision w/o talking to them and getting 4 VERY different opinions. Then I just sit around babbling, being totally stumped!!! LMAO. Peace to you GF!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

First off GF that video was hypnotic. Were there subliminal messages there? Are you trying to tell us something whether we like it or not LOL.

Now, as to the truth of the matter it seems the experience you've inadvertently had has made you wise beyond your years...have your kids (even though they're boys) found themselves saying, "Oh God, I sound like my mother?"

I so relate to the status of your four sons even though two of mine were daughters! Doesn't matter, kids are kids that turn into adults. Hopefully we guided them to think for themselves. As always dear friend you are spot on and your humor shines through the truth.

Voted up, useful, funny, awesome, and interesting. Had to share too.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Vellur.....thanks so much for your input. The growing-learning process begins and should never end. For some it comes easily...and for others it can be a continual struggle of falling but dusting off and going forward.

In any case, we all get there.

Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Insightful and an interesting read. It is scary at first to do things on our own and yes it is then that we really start to think and develop our thinking processes. As you have stated so well - we are each a very unique creature of the Universe and only we can shape our destiny. Great write, voted up.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Interesting comment poetryman. Thanks for stopping by. My hub was intended to be just a bit more light-hearted (about going from child to adult and discovering we need to think on our own 2 feet.)

I appreciate you expressing your opinion

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

I think that independent thought is valued far less than the mainstream culture would have us believe. For instance, try to oppose those who believe in Climate Change. You will get non scientific opposition. I say non scientific because I compare terms like climate deniers or ideas like the notion that denial of climate to what happens in theoretical physics. You know what's going on in physics is real science because you are free to believe in 47, 10, 9, 4, 3 ,2, 1 or even no dimensions and no one will suggest that you be punished for it. That's how you know cosmology is REAL science. No one even thinks about punishing dissent.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Lady G...Thanks for the visit and your thoughtful comment. I appreciate the share! Have a nice week-end.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hi MizB....So nice to see you. I'm very familiar with the unique ways "we" were raised. Rules, regulations & deviation w/o consequence.

Use your head, figure it out for yourself and if you run into difficulty, find out HOW to do it. No excuses.

If you screw up, fix it. No whining or begging. "You got yourself into this....get yourself out."

I got my first job while still in school and continued to work for the next 50 years...before, during and after raising kids.

With few exceptions, I repeated this no-nonsense theory with my own kids.

It's probably not the ideal situation, but it worked for me as well as my sons.

I would suspect very few parents today use this method. In fact, I doubt it would go over well at all!...LOL Thanks Miz B.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Thinking for yourself comes with many who have been told all their life that God is good and Satan is bad and all the crap that goes along with that. Everything is NOT in that Bible and it even states so but those who are lazy (yes Lazy) will tell you differently because they have not taken the time to read it for themselves. This is a great Hub. I am sharing it.

MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

Independent thinking, Paula, what an interesting concept! I came from the era when first our parents, second, our teachers, and third, our Sunday school teachers told us what to do. If the parent or teacher didn’t get us, then God was going to. I toed the line pretty well, but I didn’t buy it. I’ve often told people that when I got out into the world, I felt like a pet hamster that had been released into the wild. All of a sudden one day I was a wife and mother and then a single parent and expected to make decisions for myself. I came from the most hypocritical era in American history where children were trained to take orders, not to think for themselves.

Seriously though, I was a closet independent thinker, and I raised my children to think for themselves. When my oldest son lost his first job at a fast food restaurant for exactly what you illustrated, I sat him down and had a talk with him about initiative and thinking for himself. He later supported himself in college by being the manager of a buffet line at a Holiday Inn restaurant.

Life is full of surprises, and we need to teach our children to handle them, not to hide behind our skirt tails, or capris, as the case may be.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

jeyaramd......Hello "new" visitor. So nice to meet you and read your very thoughtful comment. You totally got my gist!! Thank you. I will take a stroll to your site!......Peace, Paula

jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 2 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Life is definitely an evolving cycle. It takes time to grow maturity and independence. We are sometimes too close to those who are around us that we don't think as clearly, like in high school. Going to college, really breaks that rhythm of acceptance; when we come to terms with the person in the mirror, like you said. It's scary when you mature, as you appreciate your teachings and fear the future. But, it's all for a good cause; to become independent. This was well written and helped me walk through my days of moving away from the comfort zone.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

mds &


Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on Independent thinking! Even as a Senior Citizen it can be difficult to decide on something without a little help. Bottom line though, is we're left with our own personal we can't pass the buck.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

I guess I was blessed as I was taught to 'figure it out' from a very young age. If I could not of course assistance came but I was encouraged to THINK. What a gif that has been.

Angels are on the way to you ps

mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

Hi Paula very interesting. I work with college students and they are always in my office fearing that their guidance was lackluster or insufficient. Many times it was but my job as a therapist is to help them along the way and rebuild their confidence. It is really hard for young people to become the adults that they have dreamt about for years :)

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Audrey.....I distinctly remember a sign that my Dad had hung near his workshop. I believe it is an old German adage. It read: (with German accent) "Ve get too soon Auldt and too late Schmart!" That pretty much sums it up.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Yes, Phyllis......funny thing, my parents never wised up until I was about 20. I have no idea what they were thinking before then!! LOL.

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AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Useful and inspirational article!

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Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Paula, as I was reading this hub I remembered how my parents seemed to have gotten wiser as I got older. Then one day at the ripe old age of 18 it dawned on me that it was me who finally understood they were never not wise and I just had to open and remember the things they taught me. You really are spot on in this hub. Well done. Up and across and H+

PS edit: I am listening to the 50 positive things video - I love it and will come back to listen again. Thanks.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

moumitadasgupta.....WOW! That's quite a handle. lol So good to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughtful comment. I will scoot over to your profile page and get to know you....Peace, Paula

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moumitadasgupta86 2 years ago from Kolkata

Hey Paula Great shares and good lessons indeed, thoughts and premonitions grows out if you are positive in your outlook and to be an independent thinker you have to boost one logic, I me Myself can do it and Yes it is me who can only do it.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

dahoglund.....Hi there! Thanks for stopping by to add your comment. That's right about the fast food thing. I believe I was in HS when the very first reasonable facsimile of fast food popped up...and if memory serves me, it was called "The Red Barn" in my neck of the woods.

Pssst...just between you and me, if logic is being taught in schools's probably not quite the same logic we were taught.......not that there's more than one type, but we'll let them figure that out in their own good time!

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dahoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Not exactly the way things went in my life, but there wasn't any fast food back then. Actually your article would have been useful when I was raising my kids and they needed guidance. I agree with Billybuc about logic and all. Is logic taught in the schools now? up votes and shared.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

jainismus.....Thanks for the visit. I'm not really meaning to advise...just a simple tale about how we evolve from youthful and clueless followers to maturity and independent thinkers... Peace, Paula

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jainismus 2 years ago from Pune, India

Great advice...

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Peg...."That poor guy" looks like any current young employee these days, doesn't he? LOL The key word being, "young." It's such a shame that we simply aren't born with the wealth of knowledge and wisdom required to do it all right....right from the start!

Then again, how interesting and exciting would life be if we didn't stumble, trip and fall every other day?? There's something about DISCOVERY that makes life the huge Adventure it is suppose to be!! Good to see you. Your comments are always insightful.

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PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Amazing and intuititive article that really captures the essence of our developmental process. The video was incredible and I'll be back to listen to it again anytime I'm resisting the positive and trying to backslide. Thanks for this truly useful hub. Voted all the way up, even funny for the photo of the guy in the container.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hello Doc......Thanks for stopping by.

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DrBillSmithWriter 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

We are so in need of more real independent thinkers, for sure. Bravo! Thanks for sharing. ;-)

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author usual you are 100% correct. We should never ever stop learning. There's far too much for us to know! Thanks.

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midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

Independent thought is really an ongoing process! Never stops once we get that way!

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Sunardi......I hear you. From what I can tell, things are looking up where younger generation parents (here in America) encourage their children to figure things out for themselves and learn to reason and analyze at much younger ages,

Just in my own circle, I am amazed at the maturity level and self sufficiency of my grandchildren. Parents expect that because children are born brilliant, it is important to foster a confidence in their children that their brain is their greatest ally. Use it!

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Sunardi 2 years ago from Indonesia

Interesting HUB. I and some of my friends begin wishing to be an independent thinker when we went into school. We felt that our parents were not like our friends and we spent a lot of time outside the home. Because, out there we can be an independent. However, some of them so lucky as they could be an independent thinker at home. They enjoy several debate with their parents.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Just the facts, pop.....I believe in straight shooting.

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breakfastpop 2 years ago

Thank you fp......

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Shelia....It's always good to run things by our parents. Like you say, even if we don't exactly follow their advice to the letter, their opinions matter.

After all......they had to be great & wonderful people to raise us....right??

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Ahhhh Yeah, Sha.....funny NOW, but not so funny at the time we're raising the hairy & hormonal little apes!! LOL I had 2 pleasure-to-raise boys and 2 Oh-God-get-me-through-this boys. (They know who they are) The strange or "fortunate" thing is all 4 are the most amazing adults,husbands, Dads & that I'm worn to a shell-shock frazzle. Whoop-de-doo....we made it.

I informed every one of my daughters-in-law....."Trust me honey, you never have to worry he'll be comin home to Mama." I'd be on the next Space Shuttle.....except I do have one who would manage to hitch a ride with me. The DREADED baby. That last one's a killer.

sheilamyers 2 years ago

Awesome hub! It took me back to my childhood and teen years. Yes, I now think for myself and make my own decisions, but the funny thing is even at my age there are times I go to my parents and ask for their advice about something. I don't always do what they suggest, but I do listen carefully and take it into consideration.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

pop.....I for one, congratulate your parents on a job well done.....and I would thank them as well, since you've certainly put your upbringing to beneficial use!

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bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Isn't it funny how every single teenager on Earth thinks he/she knows more than their parents? It must be built into the DNA.

Then, we take the big leap into the wild blue yonder and fly by the seat of our pants. It's not until then that all the lessons we learned and all the talk we shunned comes into play and a light bulb goes off.

I've been on my own since the day before I graduated high school. I've learned a lot since and continue to learn. Thank God I've fallen back on much of what my parents taught me. They taught me to recognize good from bad, how to sleep in my bed once I've made it (live with your decisions), how to have the strength of character to recognize when I've made a mistake and learn from it, how to blame no one but myself, and how to be proud of all I've accomplished despite the hard knocks.

I just hope I've done as good a job with my son as my parents did with me. I'll let you know if he ever leaves home!

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breakfastpop 2 years ago

My parents gave me the greatest gift of all. They encouraged me to be my own person, stand up for myself and have the courage of my convictions. Voted up, useful, interesting and extremely interesting.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

DJ......could be.....but maybe not. The vast majority of writers are also avid readers.....I happen to go a few steps further and "READ INTO" words. No, I'm not "psychic" (at least I don't think so)....But my (late) sister and favorite person in the world would often remind me that I AM undoubtedly "psycho.".......LMAO...

Hell, DJ.....any mother worth her salt would know these things about one another.

OH yeah...I have a bone to pick with you, girlfriend. I just read your incredibly fabulous review of bill's novel. Nearly finished reading it, there's no way I'll be writing that review I intended.

You slammed a home run.....C'mon, how exciting will my base hit be?

You're lucky I like you!

DJ Anderson 2 years ago

Have I put out that much information about myself?

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

DJ...I haven't a single doubt you did a marvelous job with those "teens." You thought you were faking it, but in reality, your natural maternal instincts kicked in and helped you breeze right through it. I sincerely believe this about women.

How else could a small town, somewhat sheltered 19 year old.....miles away from home, living in a 3 room apt. near an Army base, knowing no one but her soldier husband.....fall instantly and comfortably into motherhood like she'd been at it for decades?

Instinct is "crazy amazing"...wouldn't you agree? :) You WEREN'T pretending.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Ann....Use the same excuse......."I'm so busy and rushed. It's amazing I can remember anything.....If everyone would just leave me alone!!"

Be careful what we wish day I will be alone.......lost for all eternity.....roaming the world's largest parking lot.....looking for my car.....crying......asking for help. And no one will care!!!!!!!!!! LMAO!

DJ Anderson 2 years ago

When I married my second husband, he had two young teens. My son was only 4 years old, so I knew nothing about raising teen boys. With their father working our of the country much of the time, I had to pretend that I knew what I was doing. Wow, did they ever keep me on my toes. Most of the time, it was a 'shot in the dark', a 'fake it 'till you make it' attempt to look like I was a seasoned pro at raising teens.

Years later when the boys married and had children of their own, one of them said to me, "I thought you and Dad were so smart and had all the right answers. Now, I realize that you both were faking it, just like I am doing now, with my own children!"

I responded by putting my finger to my lips and said, "Shhh, you're doing just fine. The trick is, don't ever let the kids know that your are

flying on a wing and a prayer."

Paula, I think most of us are on the 'fake it 'til we make it', platform.

Everything is relative. And, most truths rely on many applicable

factors which seem to change with an ever increasing speed.

We do the best we can with what we have, until we know better -- then, we do better.

Excellent hub, Paula.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Oh yes. I feel such a fool because I always think it must look obvious that I've lost my car! I tell myself it's because I have many things on my mind and it's nothing to do with getting old. Mmm......!

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Ann.......It's nice to know we're not alone in our scattered brain. Do you also forget where you park your car when you go shopping? Seriously Ann....How MANY damned times does one have to walk the width and length of a huge parking lot, looking like a lost puppy dog......before remembering to make note of a parking spot, WHEN WE PARK?

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

YES! Frank......The "Animals," is the rendition that was playing in my head. Thanks. I would have had to google this at some point today, just to stop knocking myself out trying to remember. 1965???!! Whoa . I never would have guessed the year. Good grief, I was still in High School?

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annart 2 years ago from SW England

Don't worry, you're not the only one, I do that all the time!

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Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

LOL.. via wiki: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is a song written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, and Sol Marcus for the jazz singer/pianist Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" has been covered by many artists, including a 1965 blues rock hit by The Animals. A 1977 disco-flamenco/Latin rearrangement by Santa Esmeralda was also a hit.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

annart.....If I had to choose the one thing that annoys me the very most here on HP....It is my own terrible habit of commenting or responding .....and then proceeding to go on my merry way.....without posting the comment! If we got paid for that, I'd meet pay out every month!

So....for the second time this morning......LOL......thanks so much for your realistic comment. It is music to our ears when we hear our children repeating to their kids, the same mantras we used when raising them. Surprise! They really were listening.

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hey Frank......I've missed that handsome face of yours......good to see you. Your first 8 words! OK...that's a song. It's playing in my head right this moment! Oh darn, Frank.....can't think of who did this....Please think for me, will you?

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jodah.....Oh no.....I never was a teen...and of course I have no children. I believe this was some crazy dream I had......yes, that's it! I just imagine this is how it might be.....Thanks so much for reconfirming this for me!

Someone told me that the expression you mention is a family heirloom passed on from one generation to the next...."oh I wish I'd listened to you back then."

Maybe some things are simply Universal....ya think? LOL

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Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood! F.. this was actually entertaining.. a hub of the day type of entertainment.. I think after reading this hub I'm getting that we all Just Follow The Yellow Brick Road... or am I misunderstood?

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Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

This was so spot on fpherj48. Anyone would think you have actually been a teenager and had kids It seems they all think and act the same...funny how what goes around comes around though. Now mine are older with their own kids, they do the things we did with them and often say..."oh I wish I'd listened to you back then". Voted up.

annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

What a great hub, full of wise words! You took me right back to each of those stages in my own life.

You also reminded me of one thing regarding my children; I thought nothing had sunk in, that they didn't want to know about any advice from me, that they didn't listen. All of sudden, I'm hearing things they're saying to their own kids and they're echoes of what I said! So something did work after all!

Up etc and shared.


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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

FA....LOL.....He'll be all right....his co-workers tipped him over and shook him out. ....just a slight headache.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

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FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I like your message about shaping your own destiny. I do worry about that young man sitting in the trash can. Cute photo.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Nothing that a good nights sleep won't fix. I think. Oh my, there I go thinking again. xoxo

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

LMAO...SFAM.....Came as a shock to a lot of us, I'm sure. Especially when we had the overbearing parents who didn't really LET us make our own decisions most of the time.....but think we must, GF. In fact, I believe we think for ourselves and whole list of other people!!

You're too funny......always make me laugh......Hope your brain heals. I NEED your brain! LOLOLOLO

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Hold up...we are supposed to be independent thinkers? I missed that memo growing up. Oh, hold up...I'm not done growing up! All kidding aside (not actually all) I was a middle child and learned early on that if I didn't think quickly on my own, I was screwed. As a mom, I was a bit over protective when it came to giving my girls a chance to think on their own, as a grandma I am the opposite, I have them make their own decisions and then I correct them. LOL! Wow, thanks for getting me to think so brain hurts now. Great hub! :)

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fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Right on, Fr. O'Malley!! Now really bro...a Catholic Priest who advised you to not learn by rote? I love it. Wish I'd have known that before I memorized the ENTIRE Catechism.....which I can still quote, awake or asleep.

Go figure......Sleep well? How did you know I'm on my way to bed? You're scaring me now.

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I was lucky enough, early on in my teaching career, to hear a marvelous speaker, Father O'Malley, a Catholic educator from Boston....incredible insights into learning. He said the greatest gift we can give our students is the ability to think logically and think for problem-solve...not to memorize...not to learn by rote...not to be good little parrots....but to goddamn think!

Sleep well Sis!

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