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Mr Wilson Asked Can We Teach Common Sense?


Mr Wilson Asked Can We Teach Common Sense?


Hello, it is uncommon to find common sense. Mr. Wilson, a.k.a. Junior, my 93 old friend at the Papa Duck morning coffee club here near Orland is haunting me with insightful questions.

"Can we teach common sense?"

I just read an article on the site, "The Art of Manliness," and thought it highlighted a strategy on how to teach common sense. First, I think we need to learn how to correct a person politely, or maybe more correctly, we need to know how to point out errors, or mistakes politely.

We instead appear to over-look problems, which are often just not common sense, we do not wish to make a person feel stupid. Maybe, we need to have keyword phrases, like,
"I would think that one over again, your missing the boat."

That is polite, but tells them, they are not thinking correct, and for me, when it is a friend, we just have a heart to heart, and say, "What you are saying is way off the path."


“Far too often we let little things slide. But just turn on the news and listen as the anchors lament an auto-part defect leading to deaths and multibillion-dollar recalls or a small leak in a gas pipeline causing an explosion that endangers wildlife. Recognizing when something is wrong, big or small, and holding people accountable can save industries billions and citizens their lives. Sergeant Bowen instilled in me instantly that if you do walk by a mistake, then you just set a new, lower standard.” —General Ann Dunwoody, A Higher Standard

General Ann Dunwoody was walking down the street when she saw a soldier in uniform walking with his hands in his pockets. Anyone who’s spent time in the military knows that this is a big no-no. Dunwoody could have literally walked by the mistake and not addressed it. It’s something small, it wasn’t impacting anyone at the time, and the kid probably just forgot. It wasn’t anything overtly heinous. As a general, though, she knew that if she didn’t correct the error, she would be, by the sin of omission, setting a new lower standard for that soldier. So rather than letting it slide, she approached him, kindly addressed the problem (rather than yelling at and demeaning the young guy), and reinforced the ideas of discipline and attention to detail.

Since then, General Dunwoody has used the phrase “never walk by a mistake” as one of her guiding principles. I’ve extrapolated that idea to encompass three roles of one’s life: consumer, leader/parent, and individual.


Hi, I'm the one who bought the travel jacket , size M with the 38 pockets for my travels this winter in Latin America and I am prepared to be delighted with it as I borrowed one from a friend last winter and it worked great especially going thru TSA. Yes, I do believe common sense can be taught but only if the teacher is very patient like you... much of a lack of common sense is manifested as arrogance based on fear and and arrogance needs to be approached with gentleness, otherwise it will not succeed... as you implied in your discussion you first needs to convince the student that you're not trying to cause them to appear inferior in any way... once they believe you are not trying to make them look bad there is a chance. It's interesting that you should come t the topic of 'common sense'... over the last couple years when I've told people about "Hobotraveler" I'd mention that the most likable thing about your column was that it was just a good source of good old common sense. I'm in CA for some preventative health care (Im 5 years older than your mom) and will return home to NM for the holidays with family and a then hit the road for the cold month to be in the tropics. Looking forward to reading your observations. Jackeroo in Santa Fe


Common sense, in my opinion, it is common sense to listen when much older than me people talk, or write. People with 20-30 years more experience often have insights that can help me avoid problems. I found it interesting, that a person closer to Mr. Wiilson age wrote a reply to this video. I was a Philosophy major at Indiana, University, and learned that the study of Philosophy required I study logic, an rules of reasoning, critical thinking. Common senses is more about finding an effective decision, maybe looking for the obvious best answers. I think you said it, to teach common sense, the teacher must not make a student feel inferior. A good story often explains common sense ways of thinking, better than any step by step story. Sometimes, when doing consulting, I have had people pay me, but then they had no trust of me. Sometimes, I just return the money, sometimes I say, please continue to ask yourself, "Do you trust me?" (Andy) If you do not feel you can trust me, then test me. Try to ask tricky questions of me, until you somehow believe you can trust me. When I sold real estate, people would give me great big long list of questions, then expect me to give them big long list of answers, I called it the Interview. To give blanket trust is not good common sense, for example, to say that we should trust a Doctor, Lawyer, Professor, Accountant just because they have a degree is sort of silly. Maybe, they came from a long family history of criminals, and the Godfather sent them to University. It does not require morals, and ethics to get a University Degree, really, when I think about it, I would have done 10 times better in Uni if I would have cheated... I look for smart people daily, I will go on Thursday to talk with Jo Jo and Stan, two super intelligent construction workers who can make, construct, weld, fabricate steel trailers. I have known these two men now for 40 years, and they can make anything. I need their advice on how to make my Mama Says trailers, my mobile digital library project. It is easy to make a trailer out of steel, but to make one super cheap, super light, super effective takes super common sense, and tons of experience. Common sense is finding people who obviously have more common sense. I fear that University Profs have no common sense, they are never required to prove they can make it in the real world. Students will learn in spite of a bad teacher.

I will continue to think about how to teach common sense, if we could teach this, most of the angers on the planet would slow down.

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