I was just reading to you

YertleA few months ago, I had the privilege of holding my newest grandchild, Daniel, just hours after his birth. He was swaddled snugly in a dinosaur-covered blanket, sporting a matching cap. I quickly accepted the offer to hold him and said the first thing that came to my mind. “I was reading a story to you yesterday, remember?”

Less than twenty-four hours before, I had sat down to read one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books to Daniel’s big brother, Elijah. Elijah soon lost interest and galloped away to do something else. But his mom, exactly 40 weeks pregnant with little brother was also sitting on the sofa, slowly rubbing her belly. So I kept on reading Yertle the Turtle, delighting as the precarious tower of turtles collapsed, leaving Yertle with a kingdom of nothing more than the mud into which he fell.

As I chatted with Daniel, I paused to marvel at all the voices I the world that he would recognize. His mom and dad, of course. His big brother, grandparents, and a few aunts and uncles. On more than one occasion, I would stoop down and “talk to the tummy.” Those on the outside would roll their eyes as I asked, “What’s your name?” “When’s your birthday?” and “Whatcha doin’ in there?” I like to believe Daniel merely thought, “Don’t worry, Apa, I’ll let you know soon!”

I like having conversations with little people. Even before they can respond with words, I can tell they are listening very carefully. Sometimes they’ll respond by looking deeply into your eyes. Or they’ll twist their mouth into interesting little shapes. They squint when you blow in their face and say, “It’s windy day!” And sometimes they look excited as you move their legs to make them run as fast as they can or move their arms to make them dance.

I love to read stories to kids, especially my grandchildren. I like to think I’m pretty good at it, too. In fact, I like to believe that story got the show on the road. A few hours after “the end” the contractions began. I think my young audience wanted to see the pictures that went along with the story!

Sounds good to me.

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Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

I read a lot of articles on Medium, another publishing site, as well as blogs on WordPress and Blogger. A lot of pieces have titles that begin

“The ultimate guide to…”
“Simple tips to…”
“What it takes to succeed at…”
“How to become…”
“Strategies that really work…”

I know these titles are meant to get readers, reposts and ratings. And they work, because they get your attention and you think for a second, “This is just what I need.”

Maybe it is. But what do you know about the author? What’s his or her experience and expertise? What are their credentials? How do you know they know what they’re talking about? I’ll bet you don’t. Chances are you don’t check. Most of the time, you accept their words as authoritative. You read their advice, tips or strategies and think, “This is just what I need…”

That’s scary. Without knowing anything about the source, you are just taking someone’s word for it and implement their suggestions! Why is that? Why do we so easily give credibility to the massive amounts of information we take in each day via blogs, social media, and digital newsletters? On top of that, our friends and family are very quick to share, “So-and-so says we should try this…or go here…or eat this…” No wonder fake news works so well. Or bot-generated comments.

There must be some science to this. I’ll have to do a little research. What makes an anonymously generated idea so believable? Can we learn to be more discerning?

I’ll let you know what I find out. And I’ll bet you’ll believe me, too.