“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
― Fred Rogers
It’s easy to start feeling more than a little overwhelmed by all the terrible things we see in the world. Everywhere we look, there seems to be stories about wars, natural disasters, crime, and how the world is generally going to hell. Things are worse than ever…right?
I have some ideas I’d like you to try on: Maybe the world isn’t getting any worse; maybe it is how it’s always been. Think about the vague claims about how cancer rates are going up, when maybe just cancer *diagnosis* rates are going up. I remember when I was young it was very common to just say that Uncle So-and-So just got old and died. Now we know exactly what is going on with all of us. Consider, in the past it would have taken months, possibly years, for news of the storms in the Philippines to reach the world. Now we hear about it even before the storm hits.
Which leads to the second point: Right after a disaster like this hits, what happens next? A spontaneous outpouring of support from all over the world; millions of dollars and tons of supplies get donated. When you see a car wreck, a house on fire, a crazed gunman, or any of the other things that get hyped by the media, what else do you see? People, ordinary citizens, rushing to do something to help their fellow human beings.
Which brings me to the final point: It’s true that the media has a vested interest terrifying us; after all, if it bleeds, it leads. Bad news gets people’s attention…but maybe it gets our attention *because* it is so alien to us. Maybe the real reason all the wonderful things we do for each other, all the kind, selfless acts human beings do on a daily basis aren’t news, is because on an instinctual level, it’s what we expect. Don’t get me wrong, we all fall short from time to time, and may not always treat each other the way that we should, but deep down inside we all understand that hurting one another isn’t natural.
So sometimes we may lose track of how good this world really is, and especially how sweet this life is. And if you don’t believe that, stop by a hospital intensive care unit or a prison and see how precious our health and freedom really are. Resolve now to keep your light shining, and live as a reminder of just how blessed we all really are, just to be alive.
After all...world peace is up to you!
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B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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