Can you identify “fake” news?

Have you ever had your child come home at the end of a day, make a statement to you that they believe is true, and you can’t help but respond, “Where did you hear that?”

Having been an English teacher, I have spent time trying to teach students how  to tell good information from bad information when doing research. But, because of the prevalence of highly biased information these days, I actually went to an expert I just happened to work with at El Cajon Valley High School (ECVHS), to find out how he teaches kids to identify false from real information.

Before Mr. Trump ran for President, I didn’t realize there was any such thing as “fake” news. Sounds rather naive, now, doesn’t it? But since he became President, I have found more and more information that wants you to believe it is real, when it is more often than not either partially or completely false.  (Doesn’t this sound rather biased? It is. I am blaming Trump for the increase in “fake” news, and he really can’t be blamed for it. I am also not showing other possible reasons for “fake” news.)

Anthony Devine is the librarian at ECVHS. He has also spent much time learning about how information can be presented to make people want to believe it.  I asked him to show me what he teaches students about how to tell a good source from a bad source (good information from bad).  It really comes down to a few die hard rules.

  • Read the information. Does it balance one side with the “other” side, or just give one side of the story?
  • Who wrote what you are reading? Could they be part of a political group? Does the writer have an “agenda?”  Is it written by a trained journalist?
  • Are the claims the article or post makes backed up with evidence?
  • All information has a bias, BUT…it must also be willing to discuss opposing views on the subject.

What you see above is just a small part of what kids are taught at ECV. Kids must be able to discern good from bad information, because they will make life decisions based on what they believe to be true!  As a parent and grandparent, we can help our schools teach this to our kids. I am sure Anthony, as well as hundreds of teachers and librarians, would be quite happy if we could reinforce what they try to teach at school.

Look at this link for an interesting and informative article on identifying good from bad information, and why we are drawn to certain information:

http://time.com/5362183/the-real-fake-news-crisis/.

Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

What do you do when you can’t DO anything?

This question is more for parents of older, adult kids. What do you do when all you can do is offer suggestions to your kids? Especially as Christian parents? When you’ve tried to raise your kids according to the “discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but they aren’t following that with their own kids?

What do you do, parents? We live in a crazy world, and it is so easy to see how our grandkids need to have strong, living faith in Jesus Christ, but our adult kids really aren’t “bringing Jesus home,” so the only Jesus they ever learn about is the one hour on Sunday they spend at church? (If they go to church?)

What Bible verses do you read? How do you pray about this subject? Does this situation bother anyone besides me? I pray for my kids and grandkids all the time, but wondered if other parents of adult kids get frustrated like I do. I know I need to give it to God, but then a few days ago, I tried to pray with one of my grandsons, who told me we aren’t supposed to talk about Jesus anywhere but in church. I corrected that, but he has mentioned it to my other grandkids as well. What Bible verses do you lean on? How do you pray?

Ephesians 6:4, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Why is it so hard to forgive?

When it comes to forgiving, we think with the heart of man instead of the heart of God. But what does the Bible say we are to do when we have been hurt (figuratively and/or physically)? Forgive 70 X 7, which means, every time.

My granddaughter is currently struggling with this issue. She was hurt by her best friend, and refuses to forgive her. Perhaps it has to do with being prideful, and not appearing weak, or appearing willing to “allow” the behavior that hurt her, I don’t know. But even though she and I have talked about what God says about forgiveness, she refuses to forgive her BF(F). The only thing I could share, after telling her what God expects, is that if God forgives us, we should be able to forgive each other, and for her to pray about the issue. I will check with her later to see if she has.

Matthew 18:21-22, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered,  “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times!” (Or, seventy times seven, depending on the Bible version.)

Are you a buddy to your kids?

Imagine having to play a game, but no one tells you the rules. Every once in a while your team gets mad at you for not doing something right, and sends you off the field. After some time passes they let you back on, only to send you off again because you aren’t following rules that you don’t know. Wow, would that be frustrating!!

I know this is a strange analogy, but I would compare a parent trying to be a “buddy” or “best friend” to their kids, to not teaching them the rules of life. I know too many former students who told me they “hated” their parent(s). When I asked them why, or if their parents were “strict,” the kids who seemed to hate their parents the most were the ones who had no rules, or limits, and could do whatever they wanted.

Now, I know that kids will be prone to exaggerate, especially in front of their peers, but I have also known these kids well enough to believe what they were saying.

Parents can not afford to be a buddy or best friend to their kids. They must be the ones to set and enforce the limits, and especially when those limits are pushed or ignored by their kids.

Kids need limits. They need rules. They will try to break them, yes, but that is because they want to make sure those rules are really the rules. I have read child psychologist’ statements that knowing the rules actually makes it easier for a child to be happier, because they don’t need to constantly test to find the guidelines.

The Bible has a lot to say about raising up our kids. In most verses about child rearing, the Bible uses the term “rod.” I know not everyone believes in spanking, (although it is not illegal, contrary to popular opinion). I believe that if you replace that word with “discipline,” the verses still make sense. I could go on about this for far too long, so I wanted to put in one set of verses.

Ephesians 6: 1-4, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

 

Are your kids ready for school?

Well, believe it or not, the heat is still here but for kids summer’s almost over. Are your kids ready? How about praying a special blessing on your kids and their school materials?

The pastors at Sonrise teach about anointing our homes for the Lord, and praying a blessing over everything in our home. This school blessing could be similar, but without the anointing oil, which might cause problems on school materials.

Gather everything your kids need for school (or not, your choice). Sit with your kids’ materials around you, and them, and pray for each object, as well as your childrens’ teacher(s), and school room.

I was guided by God to write this prayer, but pray over your kids and materials as you wish:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please bless each object here that my child needs for school.  Put your hand on my child (name), and bless him/her each time they use these things. Help them listen attentively, and remember what they have learned. Help them use these materials wisely, and grow in knowledge and wisdom. Most importantly, help them to remember to seek you to guide them in their learning and help them grow, as students, and as Christians.   Bless their school room, and make it a place where concentration and work can happen. Bless their teacher. Grant her/him wisdom and a strong desire to teach and reach every student.    In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

 

Summer Family Fun: Week 8

Hi all! We’re already into August, can you believe it? Pretty soon we’ll be buying Christmas presents! (I know…DON’T say that!)

Soul: 

  • Keep up your family prayer journal. Are you seeing answers? Record them.
  • Also: Memorize 1 verse this week. Young kids learn easy verses, older kids and adults get the more “meaty” verses.
  • Compete to see who can remember the most verses off the top of their head. (Without going back through the Bible to remember them, or practicing first)
  • Make this kid vs. kid and adult vs. adult to be more fair.

Mind:

  • Another “Big Word” game: Use the word “alphabetical” as your big word, write down how many words you can make from it.
  • For older kids, don’t tell them the big word, see if they can figure it out.

Body:

  • Do a family evening walk
  • Could be around your neighborhood, or around your high school track.                   (Remember, don’t do any physical exertion if it is hot outside, or you have compromised health. Check with your physician first, if you aren’t sure about the outside conditions, or your health)

Do we have freedom of speech?

Yes, in this country, we have freedom of speech. But with freedom of speech comes responsibility. Some people might disagree, but we do not have absolute freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a God given right in this country, but there are people sharing made-up information on social media as though it was fact.  Even my Christian brothers and sisters are sharing it, and believing it.

Absolute freedom of speech destroys people, and ruins lives, because it maintains we can say anything we want to about anyone, especially if we don’t like them, or don’t agree with their views.

How is this Christian? We can not believe everything we see or read in social media! If information sounds silly, ridiculous, or even odd, it is probably a lie. If you aren’t sure if it is true or not – take the time to find out before you share it with others!

Jesus said we are to “Love one another” (John 13:34), and, “We love because He first loved us.” He did not say make sure our side wins. He is in control. In this crazy world, Christians need to be mindful that our job is to be ready to give a reason for the faith that we have,  not to share false information that makes one side sound better than the other.

I Peter 3:15, In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (Bolding mine)