At one point in my career I had the opportunity to teach a remedial reading class for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, and though they had not scored well on standardized tests they could read. After a few enjoyable years, I helped first and second graders at the primary school acquire the basics to become successful readers.
The little ones didn’t know the sounds of letters, never mind words. But on the first day of class that basic fact escaped me and when the first little group came into my room I had three words on the board: cat, dog, and fish.
We gathered around the kidney-shaped reading table and I took my place in the u shape across from the students. The fact that they had only been on this earth for six years and were in my remedial class should have given me a heads up about my approach, but I had been with the big kids a while and didn’t see the obvious.
After visiting for a few minutes I said, “Let’s all look at the board and you tell me what you see.”
“Words!” was the gleeful response.
“That’s right,” I said, “Now who can tell me what those words are?”
Puzzled looks crossed each face as they stared intently at the board. One little girl in particular caught my attention as she tilted her head and chewed on her tongue for several minutes.
Finally she wrinkled her nose, looked me in the eye and said, “You know, Mith Merry, we taint weed!”
She had stated the obvious. I erased the words and we began working on initial letter sounds.
This story came to mind while, strangely enough, I watched an interview with Mani Te’O, the Notre Dame football player who was “catfished” on the internet.
“Catfishing”, I recently learned from one of the “news” programs, is the term used when someone is duped into believing they have a dating relationship via the internet when in reality they are only being played.
According to another handsome young man on a follow-up segment of the same show, this had happened to him and he was, of course, devastated. When asked how he found out, he stated the obvious, “I checked some facts.” He then made a movie which lead to an MTV television show, Catfish.
The Mani Te”O story interests me for two reasons, one he is a football player on a championship team, and two he is a person of faith. Because of those two facts, I choose to believe him when he says he thought he had a girlfriend and he thought she was sick and he thought she eventually died.
I formed an opinion after doing a little research.
If I can do some background research, why didn’t some of the major news outlets that promoted the Mani Te’O story also do some.? I thought reporters were supposed to document and research stories.
What if a diligent reporter had done some checking, and then pointed out the obvious, “Mani, this is not what you think it is.”
In hindsight everything is 20/20, but if you are a decent young person who would never catfish anyone and you find yourself snared by deception, then things are not so clear.
Now the very “reporters” who pushed the story when it benefited their ratings are now trying (and mostly succeeding) to turn the attention away from themselves and in the process a young man’s life will forever be altered.
In her journal Mother wrote, “Those who have never seen a Bible still know right from wrong, and they will be judged because they did not keep even those standards that their own conscience dictated. (Romans 2:12-15)
In our society, naivety is not and asset. There are too many people who have no conscience and they can trick really good people.