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Blonderaven's avatar

Do you think its better for teens to get the whole truth, or should they be protected?

Asked by Blonderaven (387points) February 10th, 2010

Today in History, after a long discussion about common misconceptions of Muslims, and tolerance for people in general, my teacher brought in a former student that just came back from Iraq for a question and answer session about his expierience. It turns out he was WAY more honest than the teacher expected and, in between cussing, we ended up hearing detailed descriptions of the people he killed, and how he thinks all Muslims are brainwashed. when asked if he ever read “Three Cups of Tea” he replied he hadn’t and never would. My teacher was so upset about this he came into our next class to apologize for the decision to bring this speaker in. But as it turns out all the kids were really appreciative of someone finally being brutally honest with them, and glad to have heard this.
Whats your take on this? is it better to let (older) kids be exposed and let them make their own decisions with the most information? or should we shelter them until they have better decision making capabilities?

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28 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Why have you made the assumption that what you heard from the ex serviceman was the truth?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think I, as the teacher, would say that the ‘truth’ they heard was only this person’s truth and that when it comes to these complex issues, many other perspectives are necessary. When I taught young teens, I was completely honest with them but qualified my statements with saying that I feel strongly about certain issues and other people do not at all and that they should consider different viewpoints before making their decision on a topic.

phoebusg's avatar

They are better protected by the truth.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This is not the truth, any more than all teenagers sleep around, do drugs, and have no interest in doing any work.

The ex-serviceman’s perspective is that as invader in a foreign country. Imagine if the police kicked down your door, took over your room, and made you follow rules. Would your perspective be the same as if a sniper was shooting at you from the roof of the school, and a policeman took a bullet for you? Of course not.

The serviceman’s perspective is tempered by the hostility of the situation in which he was placed among the Muslims. The debate as to whether we should even be in Iraq in the first place rages at all levels.

And perhaps that is the lesson. That there is parallel thinking. If four people each stand at a different side of a house—front, back, each side—and you ask them to draw they house, they will not draw the same thing. What is really the house? The answer is, all of them.

Blonderaven's avatar

I guess what I meant to say is we got to hear an uncensored opinion. as we had already discussed actual muslim culture etc. we could take what he had to say with a grain of salt.

Fly's avatar

Yes, the teens should be told the full truth. However, this “truth” you describe is no such thing; rather, it is a biased, stereotypical opinion of a group of people you see all too often. I, speaking as a teen who knows better, feel that I cannot properly answer this question given this almost laughable example of truth.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Blonderaven you should take what you have discussed about ‘actual muslim culture’ with a grain of salt as well.

DominicX's avatar

I am not big fan of “sheltering”. I’m still technically a teen and when I was in high school I did not want any watered-down diluted bullshit. I wanted the cold hard truth. Now, whether or not what this person said was actually the truth is different. It was their opinion. It isn’t being taught as fact that you will be tested on (that would be a whole “nother” can of worms), it’s simply being exposed to someone else’s opinion. You can sort fact from opinion; it’s not that difficult to do.

Marva's avatar

I believe kids should be told the whole truth, but given the tools to contain it, such as making sure they are aware of the price this boy is paying, so he will not apear a hero to them, think together of other ways he could have handled the situation, open a free discussion of what he could do diffrently and what does one do in certain situations and realities, what would they do in his shoes, how do they handle situations in their own shoes.
Then you are treating them as adults and developing their mature thinking whilst helping them to reach the right conclusions.
The truth is out there anyway, we best help them handle it than try to hide it.

Shae's avatar

Truth should be balanced, this was not balanced. Also his use of curse words was not appropriate of respectful of any audience.

Cruiser's avatar

The difference you should try to appreciate is your teacher was attempting to provide a balanced inside look into the Muslim life and culture and this guest student speaker took a sliver of his extreme and sensationalized views and thrust them at you….this is a potentially biased view that hence upset not only the teacher but his/her efforts to provide a well rounded unbiased program. Extreme views are just that…extreme and should not be unknowingly presented to children under 20 years old…IMO of course!

augustlan's avatar

Truth? Yes. Bigoted bullshit gleaned under extreme circumstances? No. If any of your classmates are Muslim, imagine how this talk affected them. Not cool, man. Not cool.

ubersiren's avatar

I think it’s important for people of all ages to be given different points of view from diverse media so that they can determine what is the truth for themselves.

That being said, I’m not sure you can call the soldier just back from Iraq an expert source on Muslims. Still, it’s good to hear his point of view so that you can compare what he has to say to what someone else might say. Weed out the crazy for yourself.

Oxymoron's avatar

Whole truth. Nothing but the truth. It isn’t like they won’t find out the truth some day anyways.

filmfann's avatar

That experience rather reminded me of the end of “All Quiet On The Western Front”.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

They should be exposed to the truth, and then be allowed to make their own decision. Naive people get into trouble too easily, and it is not the place of a teacher to keep students in the dark. This teacher educated the students, and whatever conclusion they draw from the speaker they are more aware of this huge issue than they previously were.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I don’t think it’s necessarily that he was “honest”. He gave his opinions and openly shared his experiences. When we share things with others we have to think about who we are talking to and for what purpose- thinking about that first will often lead to preventing unnecessary harm (if you call that “protecting”, so be it)

The teacher should have found out more about his speaker.

The sharing of different perceptions and opinions with teens can be great if discussed and critiqued afterwards. The teacher could even use the situation to spark discussion about this very question. That would truly encourage critical thinking!

Factotum's avatar

@Shae Jesus Christ the guy’s a soldier.

@augustian Schools don’t exist to shelter Muslim children from things they don’t want to hear. Nor do they exist to shelter any children of any identifiable or unidentified group from hearing things they don’t want to hear. The job of schools is education.

@Cruiser Balanced my ass. The teacher was no doubt attempting to deliver a safe, controversy-free discourse on how all the world’s people are the same. Which is true in a general sense as most people everywhere want to live safely and comfortably and spend time with those they love. But it doesn’t really explain why there are wars or why some people want to blow up planes full of innocent people.

In general, the phrase ‘this person’s truth’ is the real bullshit. What you heard was his experiences and perspective. When you read your textbook or listen to your teacher you are hearing carefully modulated generalities designed not to make waves. This is not to say that there is no value in what you’re being taught but you are right to be suspicious of its content.

Cruiser's avatar

@Factotum Sorry! I was not there…I did not hear what you apparently must have heard nor do I care to hear someones extremist views nor do I wish to let him spew his unbridled hatred upon the unsuspecting youth of my country. There is a time and place for this discourse and a public school with a state funded, state specified curriculum is not that place for his hateful rhetoric. I would be very surprised if this teacher still has a job there.

Snarp's avatar

@Factotum “Jesus Christ the guy’s a soldier.”
So soldiers are not required to follow basic social rules or show respect to others? I expect soldiers to use foul language on the battlefield, but not when they are speaking to a high school class. Back in the day soldiers were expected to be polite, particularly to civilians and were expected to be good representatives of our armed forces. This guy wasn’t.

Snarp's avatar

I wonder how the teacher, the students, and @Factotum would feel if I was speaking and told them that all Christians were brainwashed. How long would that take to get me on Fox News and a Bill O’Reilly ambush interview in my driveway (fortunately they’d at least have to wait until the snow is gone)?

phil196662's avatar

Straight out honest and explane any religious details so they have everything they need to go to the next step- decide for themselves

augustlan's avatar

@Factotum So, if in my experience, all males are assholes… it would be ok for me to say that to a group of school children? What rubbish.

Factotum's avatar

@Snarp I think if you looked into it you’d see that Christianity and Catholicism in general take a pretty good beating in schools. Not to the same extent as this soldier’s rant but subtly and relentlessly.

Which I don’t mind, frankly. It’s a tough world.

@augustlan Good point. That crap is usually saved for college.

Snarp's avatar

@Factotum Frankly, I think that’s bunk. They sure didn’t take a beating in any school I went to. Have any substantial, widespread, statistical evidence to back that up?

Factotum's avatar

@Snarp Here’s an interesting tale of a kid’s Bible being called ‘garbage’ and being literally thrown in the trash by a teacher.

I doubt there is statistical evidence available – just numerous angry Christians, some with reason to be angry, some with chips on their shoulders.

But I’m thinking there isn’t a teacher in all of America who would dare do that with a Koran (and of course I wouldn’t want them to).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Factotum I don’t see why a person who thinks the Bible is garbage wouldn’t think that the Koran is garbage too.

Factotum's avatar

Nor do I. Nevertheless, for all people talk of militant Christians no one is really afraid of them.

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