Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Summary & Additional Links:
Students will consider their sources of information in an age of information overload and “fake news” as they explore being careful when taking advice. Links are provided to some online resources that will help students search out truthful answers from the Bible.
Students will consider their sources of information in an age of information overload and “fake news” as they explore being careful when taking advice.
Did you know that in the days when Hurricane Irma was approaching the US, there was misinformation being spread about the storm? At the same time that there was real, important, even life-changing news to share about Irma, other footage of winds and floods from a different time and location were claimed to be Irma, and were shared (and shared and shared and shared). Other sources called the storm a “Category 6” which is not a legitimate classification for hurricanes. How could one tell what was real and what was fake? CBS News attempted to sort it out in this video.
Play the following video [1:03]:
Beware of Fake Hurricane Irma Forecasts Online
What have you learned in school or elsewhere about which news or research sources to trust? (Answers will vary. Students may or may not have had classes on this topic, or may have received ad hoc advice from teachers or advisors. Students may have been told something specific by a friend or family member, or simply picked up their views on what to believe by observing what sources that person trusts.)
Why might it be important to know what information we can trust? (Accept all reasonable answers. Give students an opportunity to really explore this. They may reference today’s video, or make connections to information influencing how we vote or what we buy. Or students may reference the need for good science for medicine, technology, etc.)
When was the last time you took advice from an untrustworthy source? What happened? (Be prepared to share your own experience. Students should share without naming names or detailed specifics.)
Some information sources just aren’t trustworthy, and having an honest source is critical when you are basing your own reactions and choices on information received. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about listening to and heeding advice and instruction.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
Whiteboard and marker
Sometimes news, information, advice, and opinions come at us so fast that we don’t even realize how much content we’ve consumed or how it may impact us.
Have students work individually or in pairs to make a list of all the news, information, advice, and opinions they receive in one day. Ask them to think through their day, from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep, consider every time they receive information or a message of some kind, and write that down. For example, checking their phone for the time, weather, Instagram updates, hearing reminders from parents in the morning, talking with friends or overhearing peers on the bus, listening to announcements at school, learning at school, being coached in sports, watching YouTubers, viewing ads, listening to music, etc.
What are some of the sources of information you’ve listed? (Answers will vary. See paragraph above for some possible examples.)
Which sources do you value most? Why? (Answers will vary. Students may have reasons for most valuing opinions of those closest to them, or celebrities, or experts, or artists, )
How do the messages you receive each day impact your thoughts and actions? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students may or may not have considered this, but the messages we receive impact our view of ourselves, what we wish to be, how we see our world, how we treat others, the things we want and buy, etc. We also tend to consume more of whatever messaging source we like best and begin to seek out other similar voices.)
Christians have a way to sort through all the messages we receive to find the truth—by lining everything up to what we know about God and His ways as revealed in Scripture. The Bible has something to say on just about every topic you can imagine. You can use a concordance in your Bible or a larger version if you have one at home. But there are also great online resources available that can help us identify what Scripture says about different topics—YouVersion and Biblegateway are two of them. For instance, if you want to know what the Bible has to say about friends, you can go to a Bible search app, enter “friends” in the search tool, and you will find not only specific uses of that word in the Bible, but also you can look under a topical index for that subject. Share and explain how to use the following resource with your students.
If you can’t find an answer through the Bible search, you can access help through a reputable Christian question-and-answer website such as gotQuestions? Kidz (GQKidz). For instance, if you want to know if it’s okay to go to a concert with your friends, you can ask GQKidz. If an answer isn’t already available, you can type in your question, and they will find the answer and get back to you.
Write the URLs on the whiteboard for your students to copy onto their index cards. Challenge your students to think about the information they are receiving throughout each day. Ask them to consider specifically some advice they have heard from a source they most value and identify what messages they are hearing from that source. For instance, they might want to evaluate some song lyrics from a favorite recording artist, etc. Ask them to use their online resources app to ask: “what does the Christian faith say about this message?” Encourage them to seek out an answer they can record and share with the class next week. Be sure your students understand that if they have trouble finding Scriptural instruction about that topic online, they can ask a parent or spiritual mentor for help.
Close in prayer.
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