My mother made sure I got a set of World Book Encyclopedias (exactly like those pictured) and a good Webster’s Dictionary. Then every time I had a question she would say, “Go look it up!” So, I would look it up. I thought she wanted me to look it up because she just didn’t know the answers. That was not the case at all, she wanted me to be able to find information and process it myself. She was right. It gave me an appreciation for learning and reading on my own. I was the nerdy kid who would read encyclopedias for pleasure, but oh how I learned.
Then I reached the age for research papers. Like a true nerd, I loved them. I got to look it up and find good sources to write a good paper. Now I know for most that doesn’t sound like much fun, but there were benefits to it. We didn’t have the internet, but we learned how to search for information from quality sources.
Today with the internet the encyclopedia is at the tip of your fingers. You can look up anything and everything in a moment. You will likely have thousands of hits for your search term. Information is easily accessible. Unfortunately, there is also bad information readily available. You have to be able to determine good sources from bad.
Then bring in social media. Fake news reporting sites make up stories that get shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It is as easy as one click to share what seems to be a shocking story. However, if you took the time to look up the title, many times you would find that the article is simply false. Designed to get clicks, not deliver actual information or news. If you pay attention, you can will see it is the same sites over and over that print articles that are just attention grabbing headlines.
I find it curious that with all this information available at the touch of your fingers people often don’t take the time to look it up. If we believe everything we read, and never look it up to question or confirm its validity we are part of the problem. it is possible that we could be led down dark paths following bad information.
We want our kids to be thinkers and question things around them so that they may grow and learn. It is equally important that we teach them to look up information and process information. We do not want them to blindly follow others based on misinformation. That is how cults and evil societies are formed – followers don’t question the teachings.
I think I raised my kids to look it up. I certainly still say it often enough when talking with them. We have all fallen for a fake story or bad information, but we can get better. We certainly want our kids to be better at looking it up and forming opinions based on facts and credible sources. Our nation and future will be better if we verify the information that is given to us so freely.
So, follow my mother’s advice – LOOK IT UP!