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:

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

More activities for week three!

Hard to believe we are already several weeks into summer! I have some challenging activities for this week. I like “challenges” because I think having competitions between family members, or having activities that family members have to share, makes them more accountable. Plus, it’s FUN!

Mind: Research:

  • What is a “Segway?” Have you ever ridden one? Find out all about them (Google it).
  • When were they created? Why? What are they used for mostly?
  • Also, would you try to ride one if you haven’t done so before?
  • SMALL KIDS: Draw a picture of your family riding segways on vacation.
  • OLDER KIDS: Create a newspaper article on segways, answering the above questions.  (Who, what, when, where, why and how).
  • ALL: Share the results of your investigations.

Body: Crunches:

  • (Remember, be careful if you are very out of shape or have a health condition. Check with your doctor first, and follow his/her advise.) This should be fun, not fatal!
  • How many crunches can your family members do?
  • Give your family a one or two minute time limit to do as many crunches as possible.
  • Must follow good form (hands under head, raise head and shoulders only, not trunk, face must be looking at the ceiling).
  • Alternate activity: Push ups! Can be “knee” or traditional, but all family members must do them the same way.

Soul: Memorizing a verse:

  • Agree on one verse to memorize
  • Must be able to say it without reading it after two days,  to call it “memorized.”
  • Younger kids: Choose a very short verse
  • Older kids: Choose a verse that has at least 10 words in it.
  • Who can remember their verse after a week?!


More ways to bring Jesus home? Part 2

This is a continuation of the list I posted last time. It is a compilation of ways to “bring Jesus home.” Next time, I will have a list focused on parents/grandparents.

D. Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
    1. Find a time that works, and stick with it! (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  2.  Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  3. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  4. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  5. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc.
    1. (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  6. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  7. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!
    1. Play board games as a family.
    2. Have a family night out and do something together.
    3. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.
    4. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
    5. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.
      1. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
    6. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.
      1. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
    7. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.


What are your top priorities?

God, family, others.  Our priorities are to be: God first, family next, and finally, others. We all have things in our life that are competing for priority. Where exactly is “life” supposed to come in on this list? Do we come home from work, collapse on the couch and veg in front of the TV, (or smart phone), or do we sit and cuddle with our kids and ask them about their day? The bottom line is that we tend to make time for the things that are important to us, even if we will tell someone that we don’t have time for some other activity that isn’t as important.

Sadly, there are many times when we forget just what our priorities should be.  Take the time right now – with your kids, if they are old enough – to reset your priorities.  Make a list of the top 10 priorities in your life. Have your kids do the same. Before sharing your lists with each other, eliminate 6-7 of those top 10, leaving only 3-4 of the very top priorities in your life. Now share them with your spouse and kids. Are any of yours similar to your kids’? Discuss ways to help your kids, and have them help you, to maintain the most important priorities in your lives. And remember, if you put God first, He will help you have enough time for other priorities.

Matthew 6:33, Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a, To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: 2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4)  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5) A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7) A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.  11a) God has made everything beautiful in His time…   (KJV)

Luke 12:34, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Are you overwhelmed by life?

So many Christian parents feel like life is overwhelming them. Where is God? Come back to your “first love.” It is a matter of trusting Him to be in charge. Are you rundown, tired? Do you have too many things to do and not enough time? I feel sad for people who aren’t Christians, because they don’t have the only true resource they need to get them through difficult times – Jesus. Take two minutes to read through the verses below, then give God back control of your life. And pray your life back to Him everyday. I promise that – through the Holy Spirit – things will change. Your schedule may be just as crazy, but it won’t overwhelm you, because He is in control.

Isaiah 40:31, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 31:24, Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you.

Psalm 119:114, You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Have you ever noticed how many kids seem to lose interest in Jesus and church after they graduate from high school?

I am not an expert. I am a Christian mom/grandma who has been watching as too many of our kids move away from the church, and their relationship to Jesus Christ. Kids who grow up going to church, learning about Jesus, becoming Christian, but abandon Christ and the church when they become adults.

I believe many are leaving because they have never really had a real relationship with Jesus. Most of our kids have been taught about Him, but don’t genuinely know Him. They see Jesus as being “What I do on Sunday.” When they graduate from high school, too many leave the church, because they don’t see the importance of Jesus in their everyday lives.

That is what this blog is all about. How can we bring Jesus home? What can we do to help our kids and grandkids develop a true, loving relationship with Him in their everyday lives? It means not only helping our children interact with Jesus everyday, but being willing to be the role models for our kids, so they can see Jesus working in and through us, their parents and grandparents.

I would like this blog to be more like a forum.  I will be asking Christian leaders, as well as regular “folks” to input ideas, and I would really like your input, (reader), as well. Please subscribe to my blog, to get every new blog that I publish. Thank you so much, and God bless you and your family!