05-02-2019 Letters and Commentary

Don’t forget the old songs “Oldies”, a word describing radio stations that specialize in songs from years ago. Don’t want to hear oldies? Tune to something else – something that will someday become your own “oldies”. Why do we like oldies so much? Is it because our lives seemed more rich and meaningful “back then” in memory’s mists? Or do we see value in the words and styles that spoke specifically to our personal needs and culture at the time? Or are we stuck? Just stuck on nostalgia? Most of us who have grown into the age when oldies have become relevant can remember where we heard that song for the first time, and who we were with. They are often good memories and sometimes from not that long ago. We have church oldies too. I like “Be Thou My Vision” an anonymous Irish oldie from the eighth century, but also the “afters”, “You Light Up My Sky” from just a few years back (in the contemporary Christian Music context already an oldie). Is it just a matter of preference, or could our perspective towards our personal music history reflect desires to return to a more vibrant relationship with God, one like we used to have? Listening to the songs then, whether oldies or not, and singing the songs, whatever the style, may reflect a heartfelt need for revival, to be closer to God. That lifts music above mere entertainment, and if we are paying attention, puts it a level of self-awareness. Music then could lead to repentance, a turning from our own priorities to seeking God’s heart. Did I once pray more to God? Read His Word more? Love God more? Praise Him more? Maybe those are old lifestyles I need to get back to again. We read, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8) May our music help us do that.

Educating students about Social Security In May, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and honor all of the educators who are preparing students for the future. Social Security knows that a well-informed instructor is usually the best one suited to educate others. That’s why we have online resources that are easy to access and share. Social Security’s Educator Toolkit is a rich resource for teachers and advocates. Our Information for Educators page contains information and resources to engage students and to educate them on Social Security. It includes: Infographics and handouts for each lesson plan; links to Social Security webpages; talking points; quiz questions and answers. Here’s a brief sample appropriate for high school students: Start the discussion by asking the students what they think they know about Social Security and if they think Social Security is important to them as high school students. Capture key words/ phrases on the board/ screen to keep for future discussion. You can access the toolkit at www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/educators.html. It’s important for students to understand why Social Security was created, and why it is essential to their lives today and in the future. This knowledge and understanding will provide students a strong base on which to build their financial future. Young workers can also see how Social Security directly relates to them at our students website at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/students. At Social Security, we appreciate informed people speaking about our programs and benefits in a thoughtful and informed way. We value and welcome the efforts all teachers make to educate America’s young people. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

CALLING ALL FUR BABIES… going on 35 years ago Anne and I began the Kute Kids feature, a weekly feature for parents and grandparents to showcase their loved ones (Kute Kids). There have been a couple times over those years that readers have sent pix of their “Fur Babies”. I vaguely recall a time that I ran a Kute Kitty picture; but mostly I declined running pet pics. Which didn’t go down to well since my sisters don’t take “no” for an answer when it involves their pretty puppies. Now thanks to sponsor Wil-O-Paw Animal Hospital, Paw Prints debuted last week on the back page. Each week there will be a color picture of readers’ cutest and most favorite pets. Thanks to the good folks at Wil-O-Paw Animal Hospital for sponsoring the Paw Prints. Thanks as well to State Farm Insurance Agent Karla Smothers for sponsoring the weekly Kute Kids feature on Page three. As long as I am handing out kudos, thanks to Big C Lumber for sponsoring the weekly weather forecast on the front page.

BEWARE… Herb Taylor stopped in last week to warn us that scammers (criminals) are working the phones again. He said he got a call from someone claiming to be calling from Social Security saying they had some information for him critical to his benefits. Next the caller said he needed Herb’s Social Security number to access his account. That rang Herb’s bell. He knew it was time to hang up. These criminals hit all the soft spots to get your money. Herb has gotten calls supposedly from a relative stuck overseas without any money. I’ve gotten similar calls from family members needing money, or friends and neighbor. A more ingenious scam is the letter from overseas from an attorney who represents a person with the same last name. The attorney says his client has passed away leaving a large sum of money without a will or relatives. He proposes that he will represent you to claim the money and the two of you would share it. The one I got