This morning I was pondering the differences between the life of the youth today and what it was like in my generation. (I am 62 for those who do not know me.) One of the topics I thought upon was how we treat things like current events and news.
As a child, we had two newspapers (I lived in the New Haven Connecticut area and the papers were the New Haven Journal-Courier and the New Haven Register.) delivered each day to us, except on Saturdays and Sundays, when they combined the 2 editions and provided us with one large paper. Sunday was the best issue; always filled with brochures, magazines, and coupons. I loved the Sunday paper, poring over the sports and local events. Looking to see what my heroes were doing or to see which friends might have their pictures in the paper. And yes, I read the obituaries. But, right after that, I read the funnies or the comics as you might have called them. I did the crossword puzzle and then headed to church. Life, National Geographic and Time magazines were always on the coffee table.
Our other news in my home came from the nightly TV news at 6 or 11 on most nights or my parents listening to radio station WELI in the morning.
Going to school we engaged news through what was often called current events or news. We received weekly editions of kid-friendly magazines. Scholastic News was one of those. (First place I learned about Lew Alcindor.)
We were engaged with the world.
Current events meant we needed to find one article and give a summary about it. Why it was important, how it affected us and what we could take away from it.
Not all news was pleasant. (I cried all weekend after the death of John F. Kennedy.) Not all news was positive. (Watergate would be a good example.)
As a child, I was wanting to make money. Selling the GRIT magazine was one of those ways. Good stories, centered around the values of rural America. I fell in love with the magazine.
Over the years I worked in radio, did some TV, owned newspapers and was an internet magazine pioneer in 1996. Even then I knew something needed to change. (You can still read my story on Happiness, Vermont, written in 1996.)
Throughout the years, I have watched the world’s approach to problems with much of the media, jumping on board spreading fear, bringing polarization and division and controlling the narrative.
As a newspaper publisher, I thought, how can I convey the positive without losing the news.
Recently, I started this site, Positive News For You. Why? You can read that elsewhere.
As a father and a grandfather, husband, and minister, I am concerned about the direction “news” has gone. So much is editorialized and portrayed as news. I am concerned about the blatant loss of innocence and the “in your face” that is presented to children.
When I was a child, I knew about disasters and wars. As do our children today. But, how do we gently convey the difficult news and offer a realm of positivity? I am not totally sure about the conveyance of hard news and I think it is a learning experience for parents and grandparents. But I do know how to see the positive in the midst of negativity and become a light in the darkness. (Yes, I am a Hope Dealer.)
My heart with this news site is to promote goodness, instill hope and change the world.
Here is my challenge to parents. There are three parts to this challenge.
- Being positive-
To encourage positivity, what about teaching your child to look for the good in the world? In my world here at Positive News For You, that means helping your child find the stories in your local community that have redemptive and positive qualities. I am in the process of developing a contest where every entry a child or student sends us will count as an entry and I will have a drawing for gift certificates.
- Dealing with hard issues-
Dealing with hard issues is never easy, but I think humans have this amazing ability to stand up and be counted. Even children. Who are the unsung heroes in the community in the midst of a disaster? Let us help our children look for the heroes who give, who sacrifice or who are benevolent. Let us be gentle with the sharing of hard news. I get that sometimes the “blinders are ripped off” but even in that let us look to comfort while seeing the silver lining.
- Embrace]ing the world-
One of the greatest parts of my life has been to see my children and now my grandchildren begin to see the world as a place that is exciting and worth embracing. This means that we move beyond the realm of our neighborhoods and communities and look at how we bring the lessons of goodness to others. (I may develop a “contest” that will let children write about changing the world and being the “positive news” that changes things.
I do believe that we ought to embrace the idea to “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” but what if we were to institute the thinking to “practice purposeful acts of kindness and sensible acts of beauty” meaning we are to live with intention?
I want children to be children, but I think we can change every think by helping them to live life intentionally.
I would love to hear your thoughts. I would love for you to share this with your friends who have children or grandchildren.
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