Voice of our times
I was so overwhelmed by bad news this week that I decided to write a column about the good news that is plentiful, if you go looking for it.
There is no shortage of happy or inspiring news. For instance:
Last week five-year-old Layla Lester was playing in a park and saw a bride in a flowing white gown having her wedding photos taken. Layla believed the bride was a princess and ran to her yelling excitedly “Cinderella! Cinderella!”
The story and a photograph spread and before long a GoFundMe page raised thousands of dollars to send Layla to Disney World to meet some of her favourite Disney princesses.
Then the story of the woman who received a long-distance call from her army vet brother who was in extreme pain and needed help. The woman telephoned her brother’s social worker to arrange for someone to take him to hospital.
She dialled the wrong number and found herself talking to a gourmet sandwich delivery shop. Instead of hanging up on a wrong number, the sandwich shop sent a delivery driver to the brother’s house and took him to a hospital.
And, inspiring news from the Shark Tank television show on which three young people pitched a new type of cutting board their father had invented.
Their mother had died of breast cancer while their father worked on the first prototypes of the Cup Board Pro. The father dreamed of pitching the unique cutting board to Shark Tank but died before he could do it. He was a New York firefighter who got cancer believed related to the 9/11 terrorism attack at which he was a first responder.
His three children decided they should pitch their dad’s invention. The Sharks were so impressed they reached a rare unanimous agreement: each would invest $100,000 in the cutting board business and pledged to donate their profits to charities supporting firefighters affected by 9/11 illnesses.
There are dozens of these good news stories out there in newspapers, on television and a variety of internet sites. They inspire and offer hope for a society drowning in problems.
The sad news is that good news does not make the bad stuff go away. We can encase ourselves in bubbles of happy news but the drug crises, homelessness, senseless traffic tragedies, the shocking rise of fascist leaders, and the racial and religious hatred will remain.
Good news is comforting, helpful and makes good people even better. But more than happy news is needed to cure society’s wrongs.
We need, as individuals, massive change in our thinking. Many of us know the problems but think there is little that an individual can do about them.
We are immersed in our individual lives of trying to balance work and home life, raising children, paying the mortgage and generally making ends meet. There is little time or energy for helping to solve the world’s problems, so we leave that work to the politicians and government bureaucrats.
Even if we don’t have the time to volunteer our time and services to causes trying to right the wrongs, there is something we can do. We can speak out. Speak out regularly and intelligently to friends, family, associates.
Talk to them about the attitudes and the problems damaging our society and explore ideas on how society can be changed for the better.
The late Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist, once wrote:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Anyone lacking the inspiration to talk about the need for change should Google the name Amal Hussain. Google will display her photo, which is too heartbreaking to describe here.
Amal was a seven-year-old who has come to represent the nearly two million Yemeni children said to be starving because of a civil war worsened by Saudi-led bombing of civilian targets.
Unlike Layla Lester, Amal won’t be going to Disney World to see her favourite princesses. She died last week of starvation.
Just talking about these tragedies might seem pointless. However, one voice is like a breeze. Joined by many other voices it becomes a gale. Thousands rolled into one become a storm that brings change.