Well I use to watch the news every night, I knew what was happening and I would donate money to relief efforts after a natural disaster occurred, discuss national and global political, health and social situations with friends or family and provide support to a good cause that was profiled in the media. However once I had children I found the images and constant barrage of bad news too disturbing, for them and me, so I stopped watching. Completely disengaged from the troubles of the world, it was easy I just turned off the television. Well now I have come to realise that just because I don’t know about them does not mean I have less of a responsibility to help where I can, ignorance is not an excuse to avoid my responsibilities to my global brothers and sisters. I have realised it is not ok to say “That is just too sad so I am going to ignore it”.
Since having this revelation I am left feeling guilty because I have completely ignored the Christchurch Earthquake and Japanese Tsunami, haven’t given a thought, or a cent, to the terrible suffering and pain of the poor people who are victims of these freak occurrences. What if everybody had taken the same approach as me, turned off the television and just ignored the cries for help, it does not bear to think about it.
So in these times when it can feel like every second week there is a horrific natural disaster, we are left thinking surely it must stop soon and I can’t possibly donate anymore money to these appeals, I am urging us to be compassionate whenever disaster and injustice strikes. I still will not be watch news and current affair programs or read newspapers, but in this connected age there is no excuse for not knowing what is happening around the world. When we hear bad news I encourage you to hear it, to process it, to have a caring, concerned response and an instinctive desire to help our fellow human beings.
Caring and helping does not mean we get completely overwhelmed by the devastating, sad and negative things that happen. I do not watch news or read newspapers because I think they focus too much on the negative when there are equally positive and inspiring stories that could be reported. The challenge lies in being able to intelligently process the information, act accordingly, treat others how you would like to be treated if you found yourself in a similar circumstance, and then continue to be a positive, effective and peaceful person in your daily life. Dwelling on the bad, trying to pin blame on something or someone does not necessarily achieve anything, so finding the balance between caring and being consumed is crucial.
So if you have a niggling concern about a local, national or global issue, one that you have made the conscious decision not to think about because it is too sad, too hard and what can you really do about it anyway, I beg you to bring it to the front of your mind and act. Think about it as if it were your child, mother, father, sister, brother, niece, nephew etc facing the challenge or injustice and act accordingly. You can make a difference if you act, the world will only turn completely dark if we fail to care for each other, every time we help another human being hopes shines bright on humanity. So please keep caring.