One of the things I love about this time of year is all the posts and pictures of graduates, prom attendees, and weddings. Spring seems to be the time of new beginnings when people share their family’s good news. I’m certain there is good news during other times of the year, but spring seems to be the season for sharing it the most. Under all the layers of trauma and bad news that seems to monopolize the media streams, I just want to hear more good news.
A consensus of marketing agencies says good news doesn’t sell. I pray that is not really true, but even if it is can’t we change that? Everyone loves a feel-good story. I am not convinced we need to hear the same bad news three of four times per day or per week. It feels like the daily news’s rendition of what’s happening in the world is to keep repeating the bad news until some more bad news happens. Well to be fair, some news networks will end the daily report with at least one good news story. It would be wonderful to have more of those.
Uplifting stories not only make us smile; they give us hope. We take pleasure in knowing people are doing good in the world. When someone is rewarded for their work over and above the call of duty, we feel proud. When the underdog wins and overcomes hard times, we all feel like cheering. Good news is encouraging to everyone in the beloved community. Good news motivates us to do good works as well.
Here are some uplifting stories that made the news in May: “A teenage umpire saves a little leaguer from a dust devil; a WWI soldier’s letter to his mom in 1919 is returned to his granddaughter; a teen broke the scholarship record of ten million dollars and has his choice of 149 colleges; a woman once homeless wins $5M in the California lottery; and a 7th grader stops the school bus from veering into traffic after the driver passes out.” These stories will not be broadcasted over and over again like the last violent act of a shooter. They will not receive additional sound bites like the current politicians whose jargon is more backbiting and falsehood than promises and reform. These inspirational stories will fade into the channels of history never to be mentioned again. We should change this.
As I work with children and teens, I see fear and hopelessness. They are bombarded with bad news. They are preparing for bad news. Stranger danger drills, practices for intruder alerts, cyber bullies, climate change, and the end of the world forecasts are ever present in their environment. How are they to believe they have a bright future ahead? More than that how are they to believe they can make a difference in their world? There are mission-based companies in the fields of technology and science doing good that our youth need to hear about. There are also young people who are exemplifying great leadership abilities by make contributions to their communities right now. Our youth need to know these stories. I enjoy seeing their faces light up when they see or hear stories of incredible young people living their dreams.
Have you heard of Campbell Remess, who created Project 365 when he was 9 years old to give gifts to the kids in a local hospital; or Sidney Keys III, who at age 11 started book clubs under the title: “Books n Bros” to encouraged boys from 8 to 12 to embrace literacy? You can learn about these youths and others by googling “children making a positive difference in 2023.” You can also find them on TED Talks and CNN Young Wonders. There are children who have written books, started non-profits, and become advocates for gun safety. There are adults, especially first responders, who have dedicated their lives to helping others beyond their normal jobs. There are brand new college graduates entering the job market for the first time and they need to know that their efforts can add goodness to our world.
Just today I heard a story of a school janitor who is leading the school chess club to national championship. He actually thanked the job that laid him off and caused him to take this janitorial position. Everyday people in our world are making a positive difference with no fanfare or recognition. Their stories deserve to be told. We can be the town crier. We don’t have to wait for the media moguls to decide what needs to be broadcasted, we can use our platforms to spread the good news. What good thing is going on in your family? Who is making a difference in your community? Have you heard or seen someone going beyond the call of duty to create safety, art, literacy, or awareness in your city? Spread the good news. Tell someone all about it, and ask them to share it with the people in their sphere of influence. At the same time limit the amount of bad news you repeat or listen to. Turn off repetitious broadcasts of heinous acts of violence or nonsensical political rhetoric. Tune into positive change agents and advocates who want to make positive change in our world, personally and geographically.
I’d like to believe every one of this year’s graduates, whether high school or college, will be contributors to the good that we so desperately need to hear and see in our nation. I prefer to imagine every new wedding becoming an outstanding family in communities all over the land, and the proms are just the beginning of many celebrations of overcomers and high achievers. I am determined to be a harbinger of good news, inspirational news, and motivational news even in the midst of trauma and mind-blowing disasters, because these negative things are not the only things that are happening around us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about pretending terrible things don’t happen, I’m talking about not letting them consume everything good.
In the midst of trauma and terrible things happening communities come together to help and support the injured. Individuals turn into charitable manpower contributing time and money to resource material losses. Organizations exist and are being formed to meet the needs of persons whose means have been depleted by nature or by humans. Strangers have leapt to action to rescue endangered children, adults, and animals. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, “Difficult times often bring out the best in people,” but I agree. Sometimes the worst situations and circumstances finds a way to bring out the best in the community; suddenly we become true neighbors. This is good news.
What’s the good news in your neighborhood? family? city? state? Let’s hear it. Come on, share it! Start with your family and friends, then spread it on your media feed. Consider sending an email to your local news commentator. Share it with teachers at the middle or high school. Schedule them for career day at your local elementary school. Perhaps you could invite the person or persons to be guest speakers at your next club meeting or church social. Perhaps you are the source of good news. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn just a little. You may be just the inspiration someone needs to make a good news move of their own. We can do this.
Let’s become Good News Influencers in our society. Let’s do it for our youth. Let’s do it to spread hope. Let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t let spring be the only season to spread the good news.