Turn on the news tonight and tell me what you see. Does it make you happy, or sad? Do the anchors use a sombre tone to deliver news that you would rather not hear after a long day? Does the news make you fearful of the outside world and the people that live in it? Well, I’m no mind-reader, but my crystal ball is telling me that, yes, some news stories make you worry.
Think about the images you see and the thoughts that might run through your head.
Flooding. Oh no, we’re going to get caught in a flood of dirty water. Drink it. Drown. Die. We are going to die.
Shootings. We’re gonna get shot. It might be in a mall. It might be in a school. It might be in a library. It might be as we’re walking down the street. We’ll scream, and run, and hide. Don’t go to “sketchy” areas, especially at night. What is a “sketchy” area, by the way? Oh yeah, the one’s you hear about on the news, where bad things happen to good people. We are going to die.
Abductions. Never travel by yourself, especially at night. Girls, have pepper spray. Or a whistle. Or whatever else you have in your purse – those things are like a clown car on your shoulder. (Shout-out to the guys who do the 3-pocket pat down before leaving the house). Don’t get followed. You might get beat up, tied up, and thrown in the trunk of a car. Will anyone miss me? We are going to die.
Robberies. Lock the door. Hide your kids. Hide your wife…you know how the song goes. Don’t carry a lot of money on you. Always be aware. What if I get followed? We are going to die.
These are common themes that end up on the nightly news. By the time we hit the first commercial break, the trust issues start to creep in. “I met someone today. They were nice. What if they’re a criminal? I haven’t proven they are, but I haven’t proven they aren’t! Guilty until proven innocent!”
I’m not saying that these thoughts run through my head, or anyone else’s, every time we see stories like this. They don’t. I’m saying that the news is so saturated with this sort of content, that we forget about all the good in the world. These thoughts, that I have mentioned, become engrained in our subconscious and effect the way we live. We are led to believe that it is dangerous to leave our house. Well, it’s not. Sure, we should still be exposed to these stories and not deny their existence, but – and I’m no artist – they paint a picture of a mean, angry, world with bad people.
I don’t think that’s the case. I think we are good people…or at least most of us are. Not everyone is a saint, but everyone is capable of doing nice things.
I often hear, or see people post on social media, “my faith in humanity has been restored (insert heart-warming story)”. It has been “restored”? Where did it go in the first place? Probably sucked into the TV or the Internet when you came across a horrifying news story.
They say that one bad apple spoils the bunch. Well, can’t one good apple make the bunch better?
Just because you don’t see them on the news, doesn’t mean that good people don’t exist. When you go about your day tomorrow, look at all the good things that are happening around you that don’t get attention.
Strangers holding doors open for each other might not seem like a big deal, but no one likes a door closed in their face.
Students lending each other a pen in lecture.
Letting someone on the bus ahead of you instead of bull-rushing the door.
People giving up their seat on a bus/train for a pregnant lady. I see this all the time. Why doesn’t it get a segment on the news?
Strangers paying for other people’s meals at a restaurant or a drive-thru. Sure, there might be other intentions there, but it’s still a nice gesture.
Friends talking to each other online, for hours, because they need someone to talk to.
The friendly cashier in the cafeteria who knows your eating habits, but not much else, yet still strikes up a conversation that can make your day.
The friend that you haven’t heard from in months, that texts you out of the blue to see how you’re doing.
Picking up something that someone else dropped and then running after them to return it.
Wishing someone a “Happy Birthday”.
Turning in lost items that you find, rather than stealing them.
Giving a homeless person money without wondering if that person is actually homeless, or if it’s a scam. A bit of change might not seem like a lot to you, but to them, it could mean their first meal in days.
Kissing babies. Hugging trees. Saving cats from trees. Carrying groceries for the elderly. All that cheesy stuff and more.
Everything I just listed happens every single day. Yet, when we turn on the TV at night, we don’t see it. We see the exact opposite. I get it. Networks need to make money and they need viewers to do that. None of these stories would keep us tuned in for longer than 30 seconds.
Imagine if it did, though?
We would see the world as a place full of good people. We would trust everyone and everything. Living like that, however, can backfire on us. We would live a naive life and be unaware of everything around us and think that there is always gold at the end of the rainbow. We can’t have a news program show us heart-warming stories for half an hour. That’s not reality.
So now what?
I basically just said a news telecast full of violence and fear is bad for us. I also said that a show full of feel good stories would also be a detriment.
Personally, I cannot change what content is put on television. The people involved in the media, who produce the nightly news, have an obligation to relay these horrid stories to us. And honestly, I want to hear about them. But, how much is too much?
I understand that there are things I need to be wary of in this world. I think most of us live outside a bubble and realize this. It just bothers me when I see people react to an individual story and say that they have lost faith in humanity/society, or that their faith has been restored. Really? One single story tipped the scale to one side, so quickly? Maybe they’re joking, or not saying it to be taken seriously? I don’t know. Say what you mean so I don’t have to try and read your mind, thanks.
Yes, some stories make us question the world we live in. I’ve done it before. But, it’s important to realize that all of these negative occurrences are not the only things happening in the world.
Here’s something that has always bothered me. People say stuff like, “everyone is doing it” or “everyone is going” or “no one is going”. Last time I checked the dictionary in my brain, the word “everyone” meant every single person involved in the situation. The same definition can be used for “no one.” From my experience, all it takes is ONE person to say “no one is going” and then everyone else is deterred. Hold on, by ONE person uttering this mass generality, it gives the impression that EVERYONE has made up their mind, which isn’t the case. And because some people refuse to voice their opinion, they do the simple math in their head and think, “well if no one is going, I’m not going.” When really, deep down, almost everyone wanted to go, but didn’t, because they were told that “no one” was. Don’t let other people speak for you.
So what was the point of that last paragraph? 1) I’ve always wanted to say that. 2) It, hopefully, made you realize that one person does not represent everyone. One criminal’s actions are the not the same as most, if not all, of the people you encounter on a daily basis. There are people out there who do bad, malicious things, but most people aren’t like that. Or maybe I’m just completely wrong and naive.
There are over 7 billion people on this planet. And whether we like it, or not, we are stuck with each other. It’s important to stay educated and up-to-date with what is happening in the world around us. All the bad stories we hear, remember them. All the good stories we hear, remember them. The world is full of good people that the media rarely highlights. Instead, it’s the violence, the riots, or criminals that get placed in the first and second segments of the news, before commercial.
I’m not here to tell you that the world is a safe place or is void of people who do bad things. It’s not. I’m here to tell you not to overlook the good people and the good deeds that happen around you, every day, that often go unnoticed. The little things matter.
We are good people, even if we aren’t featured on the news.