There is more than enough bad news to go around as we approach the end of a Northern Hemisphere summer.
The relentless attacks on Israel, conflicts in other countries in the Middle East, atrocities carried out by Muslim Jihadists in Iraq, Syria, East, West and North Africa. Young men being recruited in the West to join them, Russian instigated rebel activity in Ukraine, civil unrest in Missouri and an increasingly hostile political climate in the USA and elsewhere.
How do we stay positive with all those bleak headlines filling the media, swamping our TV screens, and repeated endlessly on social media platforms?
Do we ignore it all? Adopt a head-in-the-sand approach as many young people do? Shut ourselves off from all news channels and other sources.
Or do we take it for what it is, news, assess whether we can do anything about it or not, whether it will affect us directly?
Do we see it as just one side of an equation, look for good news to balance it out?
Ignoring it totally can be as dangerous as the other extreme of letting it consume us, depress us and create a feeling of us helplessness.
As in most things in life, we need a balance. We need to be aware of world and local events, some of them may have a major effect on our futures. There could be opportunities or challenges hidden in what is happening. We need to discern whether we can do anything about the consequences of any of them, decide what to do and take action when we need to. There is no point worrying endlessly over those over which we have no control.
There is plenty of good news out there.
Canada’s women’s rugby team reached the finals of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, putting in a good effort before being beaten by England. An amazing performance from a country with a comparatively small population and not known for its skill at rugby.
It has been a cool summer in most of North America and parts of Europe, lessening the fears of global warming.
There is a lot more good stuff if we take the time to look for it.
We can choose how much news we absorb.
I restrict the amount of time I listen to international and local news bulletins, generally a few minutes at lunchtime and a few more minutes in the evening, I do not spend time aimlessly surfing social media or the web. I watch very little TV and only read a newspaper once a week.
What helps me keep things in perspective is the realisation that the world has been in a volatile state for most of the last few thousand years. Mankind has survived, wars, plagues, epidemics, natural disasters, unspeakable evil all without the resources we have now.
My father would have been 100 this year if he was still alive. He was old enough to remember the aftermath of WW1 when life in England as a young child was difficult and there seemed little hope for the future. He told me of his years in the army in the dark days of WW2 when an allied victory was not certain and the future seemed without hope. My mother served in the WAF in London during the blitz, seeing huge destruction and casualties in London, wondering if life would ever return to normal.
In my lifetime, I have been through my own difficult situations, periods of adversity, had many periods when the future seemed uncertain, almost without hope at times.
As long as there is life, there can be hope, with hope we can take action, be resilient.
After WW2, the world did change, it did return to a more normal state. As it will again.
We need to be aware of what is going on around us without letting it consume or defeat us, do what we can to protect ourselves from the consequences and let the rest go.
And above all have faith that This too shall pass.
I am going to enjoy the rest of summer, aware of what is going on in the world, but not letting events over which I have no control, dictate my enjoyment of life..
I hope you can do the same.