November 30, 2009

Let’s Take a News Fast This Week

Rant coming. You’ve been warned.

I think I may be ill. And I think “news” has done it.

I want someone to explain to me how the stories in my newspaper and in TV news programs are adding any benefit to my life.

I keep wondering where all the information that contributes to well-being and helps us all take useful action is hiding.

Call me curmudgeonly or ignorant. But I don’t get it.

Because I happen to believe that news could be the story of life happening all around us. It could be a call to useful action that helps people create more goodness in the world around them. I’ll agree that, from time to time, we actually get a bit of that in this medium we call “the news.”

So why is it important that a man was gunned down in a town 50 miles away? Why is it important to share stories of tragedy and pointless violence as though they were the only events worth reporting?

And why is it people are drawn to negative news like moths to a flame?

I’m not proposing that we stick our heads in the sand. There are events in our communities and the world that carry significance for us all. What I propose, however, is that we take a break from news for a week and see what happens. What better time to do so than December, a time during which much of the world celebrates peace on earth, goodwill to men?

What would happen if instead we stepped out of our homes, saw each other in less of a hurry at the market, greeted each other with a simple honest smile?

What would change in us and in our communities if we decided to engage our worlds in some small way over the next 30 days?

Give the guy on the corner a few dollars. Help someone carry an armload of packages. Help out in a food drive. Join your neighbors and have a street-cleaning party. Make a little less noise… think of yourself a little bit less.

What would it hurt if you decided to be a little bit more of what you’d like to see in the world? Rather than shaking your head in sadness at a headline, why not nod your head and say hello to each person you meet this month?

Heresy. Yes, I know.

But just imagine the next 30 days.

Imagine. And do some good out there

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