Over the past few months (years really) mainstream media has filled our homes, offices, and personal spaces with all kinds of horrific happenings from around the nation. Our families are bombarded with images of violence, greed, selfishness, and in-your-face filth. Our youth are numb from having to sort through the millions of messages they receive each day. Their world seems filled with discord and harshness. So many demands. Choose this. Choose that. Hurry. We don’t have time. Rush. Rush. Rush. Images flash constantly before their eyes. Messages flick on and off the screen in a never-ending attempt to grab their attention.
Parents face the same difficulties. Don’t drive and text. Be afraid of everything. Put the phone down and pay attention to your child/spouse/self. Don’t trust your neighbor. Turn off the work computer and go outside with your kid! It can be overwhelming and it seems that we are on the tip top of a roller coaster heading straight down with no rebounding hill in sight.
At least that is what mainstream media seems to want us to think.
However, at the park I watch as young mothers and dads walk their kids and throw the ball with their kids and encourage them to play fair and take their turns. My boys both have volunteer dads as coaches for their football teams. They spend two and three nights a week helping boys become young men. They learn football but they also learn how to accomplish a task correctly and how to be respectful to another adult. They learn that they are not the only one on the team. Tennis is pretty much the same. Their coaches are so positive and fun that the kids talk about them all during the week. My kids are learning not to settle for mediocre but to demand excellence from themselves – and they love it. And yet, in the media all we hear and see is how bad things are and it is getting worse.
I would challenge anyone to go to their kids/grandkids school and volunteer. Work in the library or in the reading program or with the PTO. What I see is young mothers trying to create positive spaces for their kids. I see young dads taking 20 minutes a week to come read to the class. Parents go on field trips and work the fall festivals. Parents make copies and cut out laminated doo-dads. Parents work the concession stand and the gates at the games. Not all, but many, are involved.
At church last Sunday I watched as the sanctuary filled with young parents and Kids Church was filled with boisterous, happy youngsters. The nursery was full and the band was led by young men and women encouraging others to worship. There were more young people than older people. Where is all THAT in the news? Why the constant gloom and doom?
Our world is a huge mess – according to the news. And it is in some areas. But romance is still alive and kicking. The teens are constantly texting about their “true love” and posting pictures of their crushes. The young adults are maturing and becoming responsible citizens and parents. The glorious sun continues to greet me each morning and color my world with beauty each evening. I still get sweaty hugs and high fives from the kids. Just last week the teen told me that I was “weird” and it was a compliment. I meet nice people daily and am constantly amazed at the power of a smile.
We live in a highly complex world full of imperfect humans but that does not mean that every event is bad and/or evil. However, I would prefer if we focused on the GOOD that is going on in our world and leave BAD out of the picture all together. Some things just don’t need encouragement!