Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Best devotionals for students to read
Feb22

Best devotionals for students to read

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells College can be a fun yet stressful time in a person’s life. But in the midst of trials, the most important thing to do is to turn to God. You might wish you had more time to dwell in God’s Word, but classes and other college-related activities take up a lot of time. However, it’s important to realize that there is always time for God. It helps, even in the most exhausting and challenging moments of your life, to pause and see what the Lord has to say to you. I’ve always found that devotionals are a good place to start when wanting to find peace. The Bible app, found on Android and Apple devices, allows users to read the Bible, watch Christian videos, highlight verses, create notes, and access devotionals. There are five devotionals that I believe will benefit students in their walk of faith. College Student Devotional – This devotional is a 14-day plan that has a story about real college students’ struggles and a Bible passage that relates to the story. At the end of the narrative, the devotional asks you questions that helps you deepen your understanding of your own life. Exploring Your Gifts – God has given each of us our own gifts and talents. College is a perfect time to discover what He has given us and how to utilize our abilities for His glory. Exploring Your Gifts is a four-day plan that walks you through how God is preparing you for great things, by using examples of leaders in the Bible such as Moses, Esther, Hosea, and Timothy. Divine Direction – This seven-day devotional discusses a principle each day that will help you seek God’s direction in your life. These principles cover decisions involved in starting, stopping, staying, going, serving, connecting, and trusting in God. Chasing the Light – Chasing the Light helps readers to “pursue the Light of the World.” What’s interesting about this devotional is that for each day, there is an inspiring image of nature with a Bible verse that you can post on social media. Stability in a Fragile World – This devotional helps you find peace in Jesus. At the end of the devotional, there are affirmations that remind you that God is an infinite and loving Father who will always help you in your trials and tribulations. Devotionals are just one resource to strengthen your hope in Jesus. Reading the Bible, praying, and connecting with other believers will also help ignite your faith and restore peace in your heart and mind. You don’t have to walk...

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Should we have single gender classrooms?
Feb22

Should we have single gender classrooms?

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells Should single gender classrooms be required in schools? This is a question that has sparked a lot of debate over the years. Research seems to support the idea that people learn better when they are in an environment with peers of the same gender. However, there are social downfalls to students learning in an environment with only those of the same gender. Parents should consider whether the educational benefits outweigh the social downfalls. I think that students should be separated into single gender classrooms during the elementary years. It is important that students learn as much as they can in this stage because they are so impressionable. Therefore, it would be a positive to eliminate distractions from the classroom. In this scenario, boys wouldn’t have the chance to tease and distract the girls, and girls wouldn’t have the chance to bug the boys with their elementary attempts at flirting. Having the students learn in a single gender classroom could also help minimize gender-specific bullying in schools, which can cause serious emotional trauma. Single-gender classrooms at an elementary level will help increase learning during those first years of school. However, in the middle school and high school years, I believe that single-gender classrooms should only be in the core classes; English, science, mathematics, and history. It is important that students are able to learn these skills in a more focused environment. But in the elective classes, students should learn in a co-ed environment. Students shouldn’t be completely isolated from the other gender, however. It is important that students learn how to work with the opposite gender. In the college classroom, it is imperative that students are in co-ed classrooms. These students aren’t just learning basic skills anymore. In college, you are preparing yourself for the real world. The real world involves adults of both genders working together to solve problems, to make the world a better place. In a co-ed classroom, students will learn how to work with the other gender, especially through collaboration and group projects. Males will come to realize that their female counterparts can handle multiple things at one time. Females will come to understand that a male can focus his attention on one thing at a time without being distracted. These skills can be learned in a co-ed college classroom environment. There are many benefits to learning in single-gender classrooms. These benefits have a greater effect on elementary students. However, as students grow up, they need to learn the skills to be able to work together. Research shows that single gender classrooms eliminate distractions. These distractions...

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Adopting a furry friend – tips and tricks
Feb22

Adopting a furry friend – tips and tricks

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells One main question someone asks themselves when looking for a pet is: should I adopt from a shelter or buy from a breeder? There are pros and cons to both sides, but I believe that adopting from the shelter is the best way to go once you are prepared and ready to dedicate your time and love to a new friend. Please stay away from pet stores and online services, since most receive their animals from mills, specifically puppy mills. For more information on puppy mills visit: https://positively.com/animal-advocacy/puppy-mills. Buying a puppy or kitten from a breeder can be difficult, but can also be beneficial if you really want to know everything about your new friend. Some benefits to buying your new furry friend this way is that you will be able to see your pet’s mother and the environment they were raised in. Reputable breeders will often provide genetic health testing to make sure your animal is not likely to carry any inherited genetic problems. Buying from a breeder can guarantee that you know exactly what you are getting in terms of breed. However, there are challenges when it comes to buying from breeders. Purebred dogs tend to have more health problems than mixes or shelter dogs, but the same is not known for cats. And buying a pet from a breeder can be extremely expensive. Breeders can be a good choice if you have a certain goal in mind, but if you are looking for a loving companion, I recommend adopting from a local animal shelter. When you adopt from a shelter, you are saving two lives – the life of the dog you adopt and the space that opens up for another dog in the shelter or rescue. A benefit is that most animals will already have all of their shots, and could also have a microchip and be spayed/neutered. This will not happen if they are younger than a few weeks, but the shelter can refer you to a vet where you can have this done. Often times, vets will offer discounts on these services for shelter animals. Shelters often have foster parents for the animal, so if you’re adopting from a rescue group, they will be able to tell you all about the dog’s personality so there are no surprises when you bring the dog home. Because they have foster parents, many dogs are already potty-trained, which can save you a lot of time and frustration. According to health studies, mixed breeds tend to have less inherited genetic health problems and live longer than pure...

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Christian fiction needs new creative storylines
Feb08

Christian fiction needs new creative storylines

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells I am getting tired of reading Christian fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Christians are able to find books that don’t have expletives, bedroom scenes, drinking and vampires, but Christian fiction lacks variety compared to secular novels. A quick search on www.familychristian.com shows that in the top 20 best-selling Christian fiction books, only five of them were not historical or Amish romances. Being an avid reader, I’ve read many books. And the Christian fiction industry has become predictable. Every time I pick up a book of fiction, I know that it’s going to have a girl (usually Amish) who is looking for the perfect husband or just happens to meet the perfect husband. Either the female or the male is not saved, which causes problems for the couple. Despite these obstacles, the couple continues to fall in love. Along the way, the unsaved one finds God and they live happily ever after. This is the Christian fiction plot in a nutshell. I love a good romance, but when 80 percent of the Christian fiction industry has this same non-realistic plot, it gets redundant. To be perfectly honest, only a handful of Christian writers are able to pull this plot off. The rest of them come off sounding forced and cheesy with little literary merit. I’m not expecting a Pulitzer prize-winning novel each time, but it would be nice to read a Christian fiction novel that has a little more depth than they do now. I want books that don’t stop at the wedding. As Christians, we struggle, and getting married isn’t going to stop the struggling. I think these books set up high expectations for future husbands that they may never be able to fulfill. I am thankful for writers such as Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, and Dee Henderson who haven’t succumbed to writing “bonnet fiction”- a term equated with the highly popular Amish books taking the Christian fiction genre by storm. Why don’t we have more writers like Blackstock who explore the dangers of social media in books like Predator? Or writers who write about the spiritual warfare that happens every single day like in Peretti’s This Present Darkness? Or writers who write about the backlash a rape victim receives when deciding to follow through with a related pregnancy like in Rivers’ The Atonement Child? I own a shelf full of Christian romances at home, so I am in no way saying that I want them gone. I just want Christian writers to target real issues occasionally instead of always going back...

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Who should get the check?
Feb08

Who should get the check?

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells It is the modern age question, “who should pay for the date?” The generations before us had a simple answer to that question. The man is always responsible for paying. However, we live in a society where women are CEOs, politicians and successful business owners. If our society is advanced enough to put women into positions of power, shouldn’t they be allowed to pay for a date as well? Despite our advanced world, my personal opinion is that the man should always be the one to pay, regardless of the income of the woman. Plain and simple. It comes down to manners and respect. A man should always be a gentleman. When he doesn’t pay it makes him look less like a gentleman. And let me tell you guys, girls prefer a gentleman to any other kind of guy out there. Women have undoubtedly gained more independence. I believe the reason for this is because a gentleman is becoming harder and harder to find. So, yes, the man should be responsible for the check because that is what a true gentleman with manners and respect would do. Now ladies, you too have your own responsibilities as well. You should never take financial advantage of a man just because he is respectful enough to be willing to pay. In order to be a good date, a woman should show her appreciation to the man for paying for dinner or tickets or whatever it was that he spent his hard-earned money on. Small gestures such as writing notes of appreciation or cooking a thoughtful meal goes a long way in a relationship. Women should also be cautious about insisting to pay for a date. Even if she feels an obligation to pay, she should be careful. Some men may take offense to a woman wanting to pay. They may see it as “oh, she doesn’t think that I can provide.” This could hurt a man’s pride, especially on a first date. There are some exceptions to the rules though. Women, I would suggest waiting until you’re a few dates in to pay for a date, just to show your appreciation to the man. The best kinds of dates for a woman to pay for at the beginning of the relationship would be a coffee date or a date to get ice cream. If you are in a more serious relationship, it is okay to pick up the check every once in a while. This is an easy way to show him that you care, without making him feel unneeded. Ultimately, a...

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Embracing more multilingualism in schools
Feb08

Embracing more multilingualism in schools

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells With the new president elect Donald Trump entering the White House this January, there have been a lot of concerns over the decisions he’s made at the start of his presidency. One decision that was not reported on by the media was that a California law that forced school districts to teach only English, was lifted after a 20-year ban. I believe that children should have the chance to learn different languages than the one they speak at home, especially in America, where freedom of expression applies to everyone. The United States of America has never had an official language. If you Google ‘America’s official language’, you will find statements like, “The United States does not have a national official language, but English is the most commonly used.” But just because English is the most commonly-used language doesn’t mean we should ban students from learning about foreign languages and cultures. There are many reasons why multilingualism should be encouraged nationwide in both schools and society. The first reason has to do with our ancestry. Early on in American history English was one of the least spoken languages. German was actually widely used throughout the colonies. In the early 20th Century, German was the most-widely studied foreign language in the United States, and prior to World War I, more than six percent of American school children received their primary education exclusively in German and not English. French and Spanish are also some of the most common languages used in America and are still spoken fluently in many states today. French is spoken mainly by the Louisiana Creole, Native French, Cajun, Haitian, and French-Canadian populations and is widely spoken in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and in Louisiana, including some areas in St. Clair County, and many rural areas of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the northern San Francisco Bay area. A study in 2012 found that roughly two million people speak French or a French-Creole language at home here in America. Spanish is taught as a second language, especially in areas with large Hispanic populations. A 2009 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau showed that Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 35 million people aged five years or older, making the United States the world’s fifth-largest Spanish-speaking community, outnumbered only by Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and Argentina. In Hispanic communities across the country, there are signs in both English and Spanish for bilingual purposes. Our ancestry as Americans is not mainly European, but also other cultures that have been suppressed by English speakers....

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