I am being asked if I have any 2017 resolutions. I really do not make resolutions, but instead, try to improve or change something as soon as I realize it is something that could benefit with some modifications. I actually have wishes instead. We do not always get our wishes, but then again, none will be granted if we make no wishes.
During 2017, I wish
- …everyone knew how to disagree with one another respectfully and in a polite and civil matter. I like the way Kids Health explains how to disagree in five easy steps: 1) Don’t make it personal, 2) Avoid putting down the other person’s ideas and beliefs, 3) Use “I” statements to communicate how you feel, what you think, and what you want or need, 4) Listen to the other points of view, and 5) Stay calm. Kid President also has some simple suggests of how to disagree. I really would like to see less childish bickering and name calling. It wouldn’t hurt to just listen to the other person and learn a new perspective. Don’t believe everything you think.
- …all knew the difference between opinions vs facts. When I wake up and watch the fifteen minutes of news while eating my breakfast before driving off to work, I just want to hear objective news. I really could care less about opinions made by the media. I can make my own opinion if you give me all the facts. I am tired of having to go to multiple news channels to get the full story. Facts are things that are always true and can be proven with research. Opinion is something that you feel or believe but cannot necessarily be proven. Facts or Opinion for Kids by Teaching Without Frills has a short video explaining the differences. Sometimes an opinion can be made over and over in the media and many people will believe it to be factual without stopping to think, “Wait. That cannot be proven to be true every single time. There is no research to prove this.”
- …I was given all the facts. I want news stories answering all of these questions: Who? What? Why? When? Where? and How?. Complete news stories. If they do not have all the facts, say so. Say that there are still investigations going on. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t give me your opinion and make it sound like facts. Tell me your resources and evidence. It should always be true and can be proven with research. I’m not going to think something is true just because I want it to be true. I don’t think that way. I’m a librarian. It doesn’t mean I can’t be fooled though.
- …to stop all the stereotyping. What is it? I’m not sure everyone even realizes they are doing it anymore, because it is so commonly done now without even thinking how it is hurting others. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.” There just seems to me to be this movement of stereotyping that did not exist so strongly ten years ago. I thought all of that narrow thinking was over. Then, boom. Here it is again running amok. Not everyone is a label. Some are that label. Yea, that can be true, but that is not fair to lump everyone together. It’s insulting and not necessary. Stop the bias media and hate speeches. Just report the facts. Oh, wait. I already said that earlier, but it seems to need repeating.
- …political viewpoints were not overshadowing news. I do not believe papers and news channels should be political. This paper and news channel is liberal. That one is conservative. Just report the bare facts without an agenda. Would that even be possible? Yes. It’s okay to have opinion pieces, but clearly put them in a section headlined OPINION. Stop generalizing and stereotyping those who have different political viewpoints than yourself. Demonizing someone who has different viewpoints is not necessary.
- …cursive handwriting would be taught in all schools again. Why? So that our children will be able to read primary sources such as diaries, letters, or our country’s founding documents like the Declaration of Independence. Why? So they can see the truth and not believe what someone tells them. To be literate. Not teaching cursive writing and not being able to read it is a type of illiteracy. Teach your child cursive writing if your school won’t. Let them be able to read ALL things written, all informational sources, and not what they are allowed to read in print.
- …there was a full-time certified librarian in each school. School librarians are trained to teach technology, media, and information literacies. Imagine how the reading and technology climate would change in schools? They would be on fire! It has become a gross misconception that school librarians are no longer needed. Who started that type of misinformation in the first place? This actually is the age of the librarian. There are tons of case studies and research supporting the fact that schools DO need a full-time certified librarian. Plus, they teach digital literacy so they can educate students to not grow up and get suckered into believing false news. Who else can keep the school updated with all of the technology and how to use it properly? How about the person whose whole world is information and can show your child and teacher how to do research–properly? Don’t you want that teacher-librarian in the equation? Who lives to find facts and truth? Who is trained to help your child find good fit books and make reading fun? Who took classes on library science? Who knows how to pick out good quality books and resources that go with the different curriculums? School librarians today are VERY different now then the 20th century.
- …more people would be aware and recognize the seven techniques of propaganda. I like the article a teacher wrote called “7 Propaganda Techniques for Students to Learn” by Sheri Rose. I recall learning these many years ago in my social studies and never thought I would examine them again until now: 1) Glittering Generalities–using attractive words; praise; appealing emotional phrases without supporting information 2) Name calling–insulting words, trash talking someone or something. 3)Testimonial–important person endorses the product, idea 4) Transfer— an appeal to transfer person/product to the positive attributes/looks/ideas of a larger cause, 5) Bandwagon–hop on aboard, everyone is doing this or feeling this way 6) Card-stacking–purposely emphasizing one side more while repressing the other to make person or product better than it is; omitting facts; twisting or coloring facts; can be done with media bias, 7) Plain folks--usually done by politician rather than products; just like simple folk; can understand and relate to the common Joe. How many times have you seen these techniques with advertising? Now, I see it with the news. The news.
- …more people would be aware that there are news resources with agendas. Some are written with all parody. Some are written with satire. Some are bogus websites. Some are purposely writing false news. If you haven’t read her list already, Professor Melissa Zimdars is an assistant professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College and has put together an excellent list of news resources which I noticed had several updates since I first read it but noticed a few are not listed yet. Another article worth considering is Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world by Joyce Valenca.
- …there would be a huge increase of funding to libraries. When was the last time you went to the library? (Probably talking to the choir, here). What do they offer now that is different? Well, they are totally different now and constantly changing. Libraries have become community centers as well as reading resources–printed or electronic. The library is one of the most important establishments of your community. This is not a fact. This is my opinion, but I can list story after story of how the library has changed and improved thousands of lives. Just go to my Facebook page and read the bazillion library-related articles I post and will continue to post. Libraries today have printed books, ebooks, DVDs, CDs, magazines, newspapers, and other formats. They have author visits, book clubs, homework help to students, computer classes, cooking classes, many more how-to classes, tax forms and help, lectures from local professors, story time, literacy classes for children and adults, and I’m going to stop there because I could go on and on. Just, please vote for your library’s levy. It will benefit the most people in your community.
- …more knew that it is okay to question what you are reading. What is the author’s purpose? To inform? Entertain? Instruct? Persuade? Does this person know what he/she is talking about? Check out that person’s background. Think critically.
- …I did not see so many people slow to think; quick to post. Really think about what you are posting. It is there forever. You are leaving a digital footprint. You may want to research it by going to reliable, vetted resources which if you go to your public librarian, he/she can introduce you to EBSCO Information Resources, a provider of research databases with many academic journals and case studies.