Yesterday I had a long overdue phone visit with my former roommate, Cecily. We have maintained a long distance friendship, for which I am grateful, even though we live at opposite ends of the country. We caught up on books first; for we are both avid readers and I rely on her to forge the way for me in the “books I need to read” category. Next we moved on to family. She and her husband are now empty nesters, sort of, having four grown children, the youngest, a girl, off to college at Villanova. They are enjoying this new chapter, as most people in healthy marriages do….eventually anyway. Then we traversed on to movies seen and TV shows watched. Homeland and Breaking Bad were a tossup for first place. Finally we landed on current events. Yes, the world is coming to an end. Shootings everywhere, government shutdowns, all the wrong state and federal leaders making all the wrong decisions. Blah blah blah. Then Cecily fessed up.
“We record all our shows now and just watch them when we feel like it. No commercials. No news. It is all just too depressing. I hate it. There is so much good news out there! Why don’t news channels report on that? Huh? Why?”
I answered without even pondering, “Money. Plain and simple. Money. Drama sells.” As much as I disagree with the philosophy of this conundrum, I understand it. News programs survive on sponsorship. Sponsors target certain audiences. It is likely easier to sell a product to a person who sits in front of the TV all day than to one who goes about his/her life in a productive manner helping others, working in a respectable job and being happy that they had the honor of living that way. My theory is not scientific in any respect, just instinctive, but my guess is that there is truth in it.
I began to really think about her statements some more and realized she was right. Yes, tragedies happen every day, but they are not the only thing that happens. There is so much good news to report but we never hear about it unless a Facebook friend shares it or it happens in our own fair town. If I were a news channel I would report good news stories at least equally to the bad news stories. It would be easy and I could start with people I know. These three stories would be headers for my first segment.
Jeannie spearheads shoe drive for children‘s home and school in Uganda. I know this woman and she does this sort of thing on a regular basis, and with a smile. If others join in to assist or donate dollars, fine. If not, then she does it anyway and just keeps on smiling.
Sid pressure washes entire church property without being asked. Not only did he do this but he did it fairly covertly. Sid noticed that the sidewalks and drives were beginning to get mucky as does everything in south Louisiana towards the end of summer. Without a word to anyone, he simply showed up with his own equipment and spit shined the property. He asked for nothing in return, not even recognition. Sorry Sid. I couldn’t’ help myself.
Heinz visits family on his vacation and spends most of it helping out at his brother and sister-in-law’s restaurant. He even donned lederhosen and entertained customers celebrating Oktoberfest. He is threatening to do it again.
Colleen shows up at a friend’s house early on a Saturday morning (her only day off work) to help prep for a bridal luncheon at which she was not to be a guest. She then quietly slipped out the back door with deviled egg under her fingernails and a smile on her face.
A retired lady in Brooklyn challenged the neighborhood children to donate egg crates for recycling, then gave them a party once they collected one thousand crates. What drinks did she serve them? Egg creams.
Sueanne considered her friend’s pitiful fishpond, clogged with algae festered by the Louisiana sun. One afternoon she quietly dropped in several swamp cabbage plants, sure to clear up the pond and offer the fish some shade. She left no note or message of any kind, just the plants.
I could go on and on and so could you. I wonder what our lives would be like if we addressed the evil in the world but shined the big lights on the good that stands beside it. How would our attitudes change and how would our behavior follow suit? Hmmmm? Food for thought. In the meantime, look around you and consider a news channel that featured happy news. If it belonged to you, what your headlines be?