Three Things This Week
1. National School Walk-Out Day
What it is: On Wednesday at 10:00am, thousands of students throughout the U.S. walked out of class in protest of last month’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting.
Why it’s meaningful: A banner hangs near the school with the words of Mrs. Douglas herself: “Be a nuisance where it counts…Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption, and bad politics—but never give up.” Talk with your teen about the tension between protest and respect, resistance and mere rebellion. When is it appropriate to challenge leaders or laws? What are some biblical and historical examples of civil disobedience that can guide their actions? How did Moses, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus confront injustice with truth and love? Did your teens walk out on Wednesday? If they did, ask them why and what they hope to accomplish.
2. My Story
What it is: A new mobile game aimed at teens that allows you to “choose your own adventure and write your life.”
Why it’s almost interesting: Players face a series of scenarios, some serious (you’re pregnant; do you keep, abort, or adopt the baby?) and some . . . ridiculous (she won prom queen instead of you; do you steal her crown or release the pig’s blood?). Though the app seems promising in its premise—follow a choice to its logical conclusion and see how it affects you long-term—it appears that the game actually just lets players imagine what it’s like to be a celebrity or on dramatic TV shows. If your tweens and teens are playing the game, use it as an opportunity to help them think about their future and how their (realistic) choices could play out.
3. Soap Cutting
What it is: A new trend on YouTube, Instagram, and other video platforms to post videos using different techniques to cut soap because, according to Mashable on Snapchat, “it may make you feel things . . . in hidden places.”
Why it’s weird: Ever heard of ASMR? Yeah, we hadn’t either. But your teens probably have. It stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response” and refers to a euphoria felt when the body physically responds (with goosebumps or tingling, for example) to subtle-but-distinct sounds. As strange as it sounds, there are YouTube channels (like ASMR Soap Queen) devoted solely to uploading videos of soap cutting, and lately they’re racking up views like crazy. ASMR vids aren’t new (remember the slime craze?), and some viewers spend hours watching. Are your teens into it? If so, find out why. Have the ever experienced a decrease in the ASMR? Why do they think that is? Is it a wise use of time to watch for hours on end?
Science or Faith?
Theoretical physicist and outspoken atheist Stephen Hawking died this week at the age of 76. Dubbed one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century, Hawking famously said, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. But science makes God unnecessary…The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a creator.” Along with “The Four Horsemen of New Atheism,” Hawking helped further the apparent intellectual divide between faith and reason, science and revelation—a divide that believers themselves can unwittingly play into by assuming that God is right and science is wrong.
But for Christians who believe God is the author and foundation of life, “All scientific truths should only serve to reveal more about Him.” Science and Christianity aren’t at odds; they complement one another. Here are seven books from a wide range of theological and scientific perspectives by Christian authors that deconstruct the false dichotomy between faith and science. And while we cannot endorse all of these works, they do provide an opportunity to realize that, even within the Christian community, there is a wide range of attitudes, beliefs, and arguments for the synthesis of science and biblical truth.
- The Lost World of Genesis by John H. Walton
- The Case for the Creator by Lee Strobel
- Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer
- The Evolution of Adam by Pete Enns
- The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinksi
- Four Views on the Historical Adam edited by Ardel B. Candeday
- Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J. Behe
A highly curated list of changes in student culture that happened this week!
They said it best:
1. “The internet is fragile — and that’s pretty scary.”
–Cabel – The post is pretty bland, but the author’s conclusion is pretty revealing. The internet—not web pages and content, but the actual wires and switches and flashes of light—is actually pretty fragile. Not like fine china, but it isn’t a steel rod either. Just something to think about as we become more and more dependent on being connected to the whole world.
Very good, but cursed
2. Honestly, it’s not just the internet that’s fairly fragile; it’s our whole modern life. Case in point: All the grid-powered clocks (ovens, alarm clocks) in Europe started running 6 minutes slow this past week. Why? Because Kosovo stopped subsidizing ethnic Serbian’s electricity, who are living in northern Kosovo. Therefore, less electricity was produced, which ended up destabilizing the entire European grid and messing up the way these clocks keep time. Teen life can be hard. It may be worth reminding teens that there is a God who sustains all of the fragile systems on earth, both natural and man-made. If He’s up to that task, perhaps it is comforting to know that He can most certainly handle their troubles as well.
3. Finally, it’s also worth considering the web pages and content side of the internet. It’s kind of messed up and broken. The man who created the internet is optimistic about how to make it better and our ability to do so. If we can, the work may very well fall to our teens to do in the near future.
4. It may be that, if there’s anyone who can fix the problem of the internet, it will be the rising generation. They certainly have the spark to want to foment change. Of course not all of them are wise enough to see that they have a lot to learn still, but there are also definitely plenty of teens that are ready to start shaking things up. And that’s encouraging.
5.The Kansas City Royals held a seminar about porn addiction at spring training.Two things here. First, there’s the encouragement that if your teen’s baseball stars can get help for porn addiction, teens can, too! Second, if the Royals can talk about porn addiction with their players, you can talk about it with your teens! Need a place to start? We have a Conversation Kit about pornography.
6. “How’s your phone-life balance?” Motorola asks. May seem strange coming from a phone company, but they also released two poignant ads to accompany the question. We’re still trying to figure out what Motorola’s angle is, but in the meantime they’ve also partnered with the SPACE app (similar to Moment) to help you track your time on your phone and make changes to achieve the usage that you want.
7. In other phone-related news, Apple has put together a Family site that contains all of the tools they’ve made thus far for helping you teach, limit, share with, and protect your family on iOS devices. Apple’s parental controls have been notoriously lacking in the past, or at least they make it difficult to use third-party services. They’ve been getting better and an all-in-one site like this is helpful. If you need more info or you’re on Android, check out the Axis Parent Guides.
Sounds of Now
8. The New York Times Magazine has released its list of the 25 songs that show where music is heading. Unsurprisingly a good majority of them are R&B or hip-hop. The genres continue their rise into more culture prominence. What do your teens think, is it sign of lowered moral standards or a surge of diversification in pop culture? Not an easy question to answer.
9. The Dollop is a podcast that we can’t really recommend due to its vulgarity, but in its subject matter it does reveal an important lesson for our time. The show highlights random escapades from the past. What you start to notice, though, is many of the stories start to sound the same. When you look at the world around us, you finally arrive at the old adage that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it—important words for today’s teens, especially if they do hope to affect change in the world.
10. For teachers: An economics professor went to a conference about how to increase student engagement. One idea was to give students more control over how they learn. Here’s her interesting way of doing that for class sizes as large as 200.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team