Thursday, December 12, 2013

Take a look at the news, and be your own anchor!

I've told people for quite some time that I avoid the news at nearly all costs until I feel like I'm at a breaking point whereat I turn on the radio or the first news channel that I come across and force myself to listen.  Sometimes it's something I agree with.  Sometimes it's not.  Mostly, I've found, it brings down my whole outlook on the day and makes me wonder, "What's wrong with the world?  Why so many killings or guns or fighting or president-bashing, or saving-your-own-butts, or abusing the system, or vanity, or consumerism, or mass graves."  I force myself to watch or to listen, though, because it is still the world we live in.  Until we change it, we need to be open to and understanding of the reality that it IS in order to know what we do not want it TO BE.  I often end up listening to radio news stations that have people spouting off about things that I find terribly egocentric, ethnocentric, sexist, or otherwise demeaning.  Sometimes I turn it off, and then have to remind myself that by hearing the views of others, I am preparing myself to make the world better because we must understand others in order to connect with them.

My cousin, and one of my biggest sources of news that is actually helpful, posted this article recently:

I find that it speaks to all of the reasons why I am glad that I don't base my life around a fixed news schedule but I think that it does lack the thing I find important about news: that, though it notes that most times the news itself makes us feel powerless, it does not account for our own ability to digest information and to utilize it to make a difference in what is happening.  Instead, the article focuses on the ways in which news stifles our creativity and problem-solving skills. 

So I challenge you to take a look at the news:

1) less.  See if it gives you more time and energy to take a walk, instead, or to play with your pet or your children or your friends or to call someone you haven't spoken to in a while.  Give them your undivided attention and avoid the desire to multi-task for 15-20 minutes.  See how your world changes.

2) as an instrument for better understanding things that need to change.  I don't think that news sources intend to make you think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.  I think that they intend to be informative but they end up losing themselves sometimes in the need to get your attention over their competitors or to not lose viewers for touting something that might be controversial.  So help them out a bit and use your brain.  Watch the news then turn it off and TALK about it with someone.  But don't just tell someone what you saw.  Talk about the issues that it raised for you. Were you concerned?  Why?  How might you make an effort that could help to change this for you or others?

3) as a means of recognizing that your opinions are not the only ones.  Don't bash FOX for being too conservative or NBC for being too liberal.  Recognize that they aren't "too" anything.  They are the opinions of other human beings whose opinions matter because we're all trying to coexist, and the only way to make the opinions (that you don't like) go away, is to try to process and understand the other point of view and to create a logical bridge that might influence the other perspective.

4)  and remember you are your own news anchor.  In everything you do, someone is watching. Someone picks up the little bits and makes something of it.  Children, elderly, your boss, your interns, your friends and family, and your pets.  So let your little sound-bites and info-bites be positive ones.  It's the best way to spread good news in a world where all we seem to see is the bad stuff.

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