editorial, or
other contact:

126 Klingerman Road
Telford, PA 18969

Join DSM e-mail list
to receive free e-mailed
version of magazine


ad rates

DreamSeeker Magazine Logo


Ink Aria

News to Me

"Does anyone have any news to share? Lilian?”

“Tomorrow’s my sister’s birthday.”


“Yesterday I got a job in the Homework Room. I got to sharpen all the pencils.”


“Yesterday the dentist came to the Boys and Girls Club and put a pasta on my teeth.”

“A pasta?”

“Yeah, a special pasta, and now my teeth are going to be healthy for ten years.”

As others are reading their Inquirers, Posts, and Journals, I get the daily news sitting “crisscross-applesauce” in a circle on the rug. Untainted by political leanings or obligations to financial supporters, every second grader may report on one item they deem newsworthy. Here, in my opinion, are five minutes well-spent, offering in various cases entertainment or a chance to offer a clarification for a Spanish-speaking student (“I think you meant paste, Briana”); but in all cases a glimpse of the lives and values of seventeen children.

When I was that age, I opened the newspaper only as often as it featured coloring or writing contests for kids. It wasn’t until middle school that I recall a heightened sense of urgency to follow the news. “Current events” was the term used; “You’ve got to read ‘current events’ articles!” was the clarion call of the teachers. For science it was five articles read and five responses written each quarter. Gone as into a black hole are the memories of the scientific breakthroughs I read of; what remains is that here is where I first really felt that the news—for whatever reason—must be important.

In high school, appeals to students to read or watch the news escalated. Bonus questions on un-news-related quizzes awarded extra points to those who kept up with the week’s top news stories in addition to homework and studies. Teachers referred to news stories of the past and were mortified to find we didn’t know about the Challenger space shuttle disaster and more. 

Feeling occasional pangs of guilt on behalf of my uninformed generation, I dabbled in the evening news on TV and tried reading the newspaper. The bleakness on TV and blackness on my fingers post-paper reading were just a couple deterrents to any anticipated success I hoped to garner from these efforts.

Through high school, college, and beyond, the pattern of feeling guilty for not showing enough care for current events and then trying to care and then failing to keep up with news-reading went on. 

At one point, in desperation to Do the Right Thing, I registered to vote and determined that I was going to follow the presidential election campaign and become a socially responsible citizen by being an informed voter. I read articles, watched TV, researched the validity of forwarded emails, and let casual conversations turn into debate with others on political hot buttons. I felt genuinely passionate emotions towards injustice and uninformed speakers-on-politics-who-really-only-parroted-one-biased-newsource like I never had before. 

But after I voted, I looked back on my efforts and realized I still hated politics and still didn’t really care to know anything about any of it, mostly because, as the book reviewed by Daniel Hertzler in this issue states, all governments lie, and I find that overwhelming. A cringe accompanies this confession, because I know many would consider this outlook irresponsible and perhaps rightly so.

I continue to wrestle with questions of keeping up with news and current events—should I try harder again? Ought I to read a newspaper every day (or at least every week)? Should I take upon myself more social responsibility when it comes to news of injustice around the world? What’s a realistic amount of effort and care? Is it enough, when there are people who have trouble even finding clean drinking water, that I mostly just concern myself with the news of my students, who have a water fountain in the classroom and sometimes throw away whole cartons of apple juice and milk at lunch? 

Are we called to “the news” on different levels? Some seem to be great with politics, some with huge issues like religious persecution or corrupt governments or human trafficking. 

Some can remember who’s who in national and global politics. I recall an Australian woman with a particularly strong character who once voiced to me her disgust at the fact that so few Americans seemed able to name the prime minister of Australia! I nodded and listened empathetically, all the while sending her telepathic extortions to not ask me if I knew, and thank goodness she did not

(By the way, it was John Howard at the time, and then Kevin Rudd, and now Julia Gillard. I only know any of that because I just searched the Internet.) 

Right now (and this may change) I’m feeling at peace with a smaller scale of news—news from the kids at my school who qualify for free lunches or who don’t know English very well, or who go home to babysitters every night because moms or dads work the night shift, or who have easy, happy-go-lucky lives. Crisscross-applesauce on the rug in a circle. That is news to me.

—Renee Gehman, Souderton, Pa., is assistant editor, Dreamseeker Magazine, and ESL teacher. She has enjoyed the Dreamseeker Magazine print version, which has never left her with blackened fingers, and looks forward to keeping up with the news and reflections to be offered in Dreamseeker online.