The Day The World Didn't End
By Andrea Chmelik on December 21, 2012
This has been a difficult and busy week. My nausea got worse. My energy level nosedived. This being a week before Christmas, there was still a number of things that needed to get done (cards, baking, gifts, you name it). And last Friday, there was a shooting in Newtown that killed 20 kids and 8 adults.
A lot has been said about the tragedy. I wrote two posts that were related to the subject. But there is one more thing that I need to say to all of you. Because in the aftermath, so many are shouting that this world has become a place of hatred and malice, blaming today's cruel, immoral society.
Here is what I have to say to that. I have a two-year-old son and another baby on the way. One of them is currently peacefully asleep in his bed. The other one is probably doing something similar to what you can see in the picture above. Trust me - I have no intentions of teaching them that the world they are living in, dreaming in, growing up in and loving in is a world of despair, animosity and ignorance.
People love to complain and reminisce of how much simpler and happier life used to be. (Interestingly enough, these are usually people who have no plans to give up driving their Porsches and using all the technologies that are available to them.) I think those that lived in those times - when you had to work in the fields all day long, when you didn't have running water, when your children died from diseases we barely remember anymore, when you slept in one room with ten or more other family members, when you couldn't dial 911 for help, when you couldn't just turn the heater on once temperatures plunged below zero...well, I think if you told those people you think they lived lives that were so much nicer, they would probably call you a complete lunatic.
I know it is easy to panic when the news keep showing horrors of shootings, crime, disasters and death 24/7. That doesn't mean that the world is evil. It just means that today you know about everything that happens anywhere in the world immediately. There is a big difference between perception and reality. Did you know that violent crime in the United States fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 with murder, rape and robbery all going down? Did you know that across the world, the number of deaths among children under 5 has been on a continuous decline for over two decades? I am sure you won't be surprised to hear that life expectancy rises around the world (with few exceptions). Things are not always as bad as you think they are.
So you say what makes this world evil is the news coverage that exposes us to violence. Do you know what else it does? It makes people from the other end of the world come help the ones in need. The world is shrinking thanks to the access to information. I am sure you know somebody who supports a child from a different, poor country. I am sure you know somebody who adopts a family for Christmas. I am sure you know somebody who donates money to the areas affected by natural disasters. I am sure you know how much love and support Newtown is receiving from around the world. Do you think any of this was happening 100 or 1000 years ago?
This world is what it has always been - a beautiful place where ugly things happen. A place where good people live and bad people live, too. As for my children, I prefer to show them both as they grow up. I hope I can teach them to tell right from wrong and make good choices. I am not going to bring them down by telling them they are spoiled little brats who don't value anything, because anyone who says that is most probably wrong. I will do my best to show them the beauty in this world, make them fall in love with it and get them feel responsible for keeping up the beauty. So back off if you have nothing nice to say to them. And please, share the good. I saw a picture of my friend's little toddler picking out and donating a toy just the other day. It didn't make the national news. But it made a difference in one (or more) little kid's life. Share that.