Assessing for Truth

Grandmas have lots to share. Reflecting on what happened in Grandma’s life can erase her confusion and justify another person’s future choices. The telling of what worked or did not work for Grandma may open your eyes to future possibilities. Grandmas often see an experience from a distance. Their recent discoveries about the past are termed insight. Shared insight gives the next generation information the Grandma didn’t hav
I am a grandma. My grandma shared both the good and the bad stories with me. I read several stories of relatives who lived a long time before planes, trains, and even before canned food. Each generation’s insight expands my viewpoint. My perspective of life is different from theirs, but my hopes and dreams are similar.

May I share my learning and growing with you? Perhaps my comments will revive your memories of your Grandma’s legacy or even clarify a current life issue. My existence began at the end of a world war. Life has included many technological developments, disasters, joy, and sorrow. The beautiful world changed over time and so did I. Opportunity abounds. There are so many choices to make. I hope all your righteous desires are fulfilled. Since I love learning, I feel inspired to share my experiences. Maybe you will share yours and we can assist one another.

Making Choices

There is a careful and a casual way to do everything, including living spiritually. Many decisions are made casually based on nothing more than desire. The problem is that every decision structures life. However, infinitesimal the change, a decision impacts the quality our existence and influences others.

Decision-makers require the truth to solve problems. For this reason, we evaluate. Today even machines have standards for assessing objects before they conclude. Databases hold countless alternatives waiting for just the right query. There are databases for fingerprints, library inventories, blood samples, and the list goes on.

The other morning, I awoke and lifted my laptop onto the covers intent on beating a deadline. The computer alerted me. It did not recognize me. No matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t enter its sanctum. I tried fluffing my matted hair. I tried putting on my glasses and smiling, but it kept searching. The computer demanded better information to compare with its standards. I left my bed and groomed myself to meet the computer’s  standards. (So much for trying to save time). This blog is proof the computer finally invited me in to the world of 1s and 0s. Evaluation improves decisions. If my computer’s face recognition program weren’t so strict, anyone could invade its refuge. The appraisal process begins with questioning.

Spiritual life demands careful decision-making and exact obedience to commandments and standards. Souls learn to evaluate alternatives thoughtfully before they decide, choose, and act. In addition, families teach children how to formulate questions, choose among options, and move forward. Thoughtful versus casual approaches to decision-making create life differences.

Today’s existence demands assessment proficiency to sift through all the data bits facing us. Try teaching evaluation to youngsters. Most preschoolers rely on personal knowledge and their emotions before jumping to conclusions. They are in a hurry to experience life. Learning how to quickly form questions that guide information gathering is perhaps the first evaluation skill they need to master.

One day when I was ten, my family visited a tourist town in another country. Everything felt strange and new. Mom and Dad lead the way down narrow streets looking for souvenirs. I held the hand of my youngest sibling while my brother enjoyed freedom to explore. Suddenly, I felt the lack of his presence and turned around. Imagine my shock at seeing a bear, chained to a pole, chewing on my brother’s hand. My brother seemed content, but I wasn’t. My gasp alerted my parents, who ran back to set him free from the eager mouth. They held his hand after that.

We each evaluated the situation differently. My mother knew to stay away from the beautiful creature. My dad found the situation funny. I wanted permission to pet the bear, but my brother didn’t think. He wanted to know what the inside of a bear’s mouth felt like. He just stuck his hand in the teenage bear’s mouth to see what would happen next. He was not troubled by the bear’s appetite or sharp teeth. He didn’t bother to evaluate and then choose. He just chose based on his passions.

I have always been interested in finding the truth, but wasn’t taught that truth can be a science until I became an adult. During the middle years of my life, I studied and practiced professional evaluation skills. Businesses and schools seek truth to save money, increase production, and quality. I had no idea that my five year old habit of asking irritating questions might please some people. I didn’t know the purpose of questions or their answers. I just wanted to know things. I still want to know so I use evaluation to prevent common thinking errors.

According to Deana, evaluation is the systematic measuring of information accuracy when compared to perspectives, standards, and values. An assessor uses specific processes to gather, analyze, and choose from alternatives.

Thorndike and Hegan defined evaluation for academics saying, “Evaluation is closely related to measurement. It is in some respects, inclusive-including informal and intuitive judgment of pupil progress. Evaluation is describing something in terms of selected attributes and judging the degree of acceptability or suitability of that which has been described”.

Norman E. Gronlund and Robert L. Linn simplify their definition to “Evaluation is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting information…


The first step in all three definitions is to form questions carefully. Newborns  question with their eyes. Few teach them how to gather information from multiple resources. The information age require the habits parents grow tired of hearing, like asking “why” repeatedly. Children can learn to ask questions in different formats and for differing resources.

Many times a person already knows the answer and seeks reassurance he is on the right track. Then again, it is easy to miss the whole point of truth-seeking and need guidance in how to ask more useful questions.

Children learning to pray need skills in how to listen as well as speak. The Lord often speaks to little children. Remember  Samuel? He repeatedly tried to answer a call using the wrong strategy. As children grow, they learn to weigh alternatives before acting.

Consider the issue of which car to buy. There are so many questions and alternative answers. Most decisions do not seem to be spiritually significant.  People can still consult authorities to narrow the alternatives. Still, making decisions feels confusing.

The spiritual process for finding truth  works even if spiritual advice is not needed. Most car choices do not require divine communication. God never promised us a Ferrari. Our wisdom is usually enough to meet our purchasing needs.

Previous experience guides us. For instance,the principle of staying away from debt is needed when buying an expensive item. A great brand name or a good paint job tempts the inexperienced buyer to spend money. Rationalization rears its ugly head in used car lots. Without assessment skills, young men can count dollars they have not earned as a resource for buying something they cannot afford. Has anyone counted the number of providers who enslave their families with debt payments for a jazzy car?

The Lord promised His children they can have whatever they want. Therefore, people need to ponder and choose carefully before asking because they will receive what they desire and the consequences that go with the decision. Choices can either bless or condemn.

“And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; and then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14)

When asking for spiritual help, a self-assessment of obedience will inform people how well they mange following Heavenly Father’s commandments. Without a history of exact obedience, man loses interest in following the Holy Ghost. A person who is comfortable obeying is open to potential spiritual advice.

Another error people commit involves asking others to make decisions. They release their agency and become responsible for someone else’s decision. Problem-solving may be difficult, but don’t give away your agency and accountability for a mess of pottage.

Sometimes, people ask authorities to confirm their passions and then do not follow any advice received. This practice wastes everyone’s time and is deceitful. Asking, “What should I do?” should mean you want information to enhance your problem-solving. Instead, the hidden meaning is, “I want you to tell me I am right.” Authorities and the Holy Spirit are not “yes men.” Usually, they provide new perspectives but not a definitive answer.

My husband once said the purpose of tossing a coin for decision-making is to verify you desire the other side of the coin. For instance, suppose someone cannot decide whether to eat a chocolate or a strawberry ice cream cone. They decide to flip a coin. The decider may label the coin’s head  side as chocolate and then toss the coin. When the tail side appears on the table, he is supposed to buy a strawberry cone. Instead, he says, “I will buy a chocolate double-scoop. Chance is not a good way to decide important matters.

Some people fiddle around so long no choice is completed. They hope to absolve themselves from the responsibility of choosing. This strategy doesn’t work because the individual chose to let time take its course. The individual must bear the consequences of time.

The general process for seeking spiritual advice is:

  • Study the issues
  • Weigh the alternatives
  • Present conclusions to the Lord
  • Follow inspiration.
  • Evaluate the process and outcomes

Truth is the truth. Man must discover truth; he cannot invent it. Obedience to rules and principles leads to correct decision-making. Parents, including Heavenly Father, create rules to guide and protect their children. Children must then learn to obey the rules to discover the truth and to remain protected.

Evaluation processes require people to know what inspiration sounds like and to apply courage to live true principles. Sometimes individuals find their answers in law books, scriptures, and doctrines. In this case, they can follow what is written. They then take their decisions to the Lord for confirmatory revelation.

The truth search process takes time and practice. There are many steps to the evaluation process. When I go through the search for truth, spiritual or secular, and find no clear answer, I know I need more information. Truth is there, I must discover it. More honest questions and resource searching lead me to the facts I need. Invariably, I find the knowledge I needed to make a “good” decision.

Assessment begins with a clear question of what you want to know. Children can learn how to do this by asking specific questions. Try the following activities when teaching your family how to create questions.

Who's Zat???

Assess and Evaluate

Ask: What is the purpose?

Form: A clear, specific question.

Study: The issues

Search: For a variety of information resources. Authoritative people and written materials. Personal history.

Weigh: The alternatives.

Pray: For advice and confirmation.

Follow: Inspiration.

Evaluate: The process and outcomes.




Truth is the Truth.

Individuals Discover Truth. 

They Cannot Invent It.

Which one do you choose?

Teaching Children to Ask Questions

I find the best way to teach includes both principles and practice. Activities and games hasten the learning process. The following activities are examples of the principles of evaluation. Have you used similar teaching aids? Please share with us. Leave a reply! Good ideas are like Gold!

Consider the following picture. “Which clock would you choose? Ask yourself: Why do I need a clock? Do I need to compare the timers? Which clock meets my needs? Ask what you specifically want to know. Clocks are valued for their popularity, time accuracy, price, size, or for features like an alarm, stopwatch, pedometer, and water resistance.

People measure the value of objects by how well the item meet their needs. Individuals decide on a purpose and clearly state it before assessing the alternatives. Here are more reasons for buying a clock: Time correctness, measuring speed or distance, impressing your friends, measuring a scuba dive, and seeing the time on the other side of the world.

Try Playing Other Activities That Include Listing, Comparison, Categorizing:

>Write 3 needs you have for a time piece.

>People assess clocks for many reasons. In the picture below, you can measure for size, for the position, and for the time they show. Let’s to it.

  • Color the biggest clock- blue
  • Color the highest clock- green
  • Color the clock with 10:10 – red.

>Make a list of clock features not previously measured. Hints: Age, brand, construction materials, or the clock’s condition.

>Comparisons: If you need to buy an alarm clock for rising in the morning, would you measure the same features you needed for choosing a birthday gift?

>If I were choosing a gift for my friend who wants a small alarm clock for traveling, which clock should I choose from the ones below?

Draw a line from the clocks to the right place on the Venn Diagram to help you determine which clock to give to a friend.

  • Small Clocks go in circle One (1)
  • Clocks with alarms go in circle  Two (2)
  • Small clocks with alarms go in the space between the circles. These are the choices you have that meet your friend’s desire for small and with an alarm.