Watching the News: Keeping Hope Alive Despite the Negativity

As a parent, you naturally want to believe that your children are growing up in a decent world. How define “good and decent” may vary, but in general, most hope for peace, prosperity, and a healthy environment. You don’t want to see your children become fearful of the future as their schools regularly schedule duck-and-cover drills like schools did during the Cold War. Likewise, you may dream that they don’t have to struggle to put food on the table or find safe housing. You want to see them enjoying clean air and having fun outdoors with their families. These are wonderful things to hope for and it can be a struggle when you pay attention to what the news outlets are saying. You’re bombarded with news that centers on negative events and predictions. If you allow it to happen, you can absorb all the negative stories and start feeling like the future will be a bleak one. It’s easy to become distrustful and fearful. If you shift your energy to those negative emotions, then it’ll be very difficult for your children to hold onto hope. Without hope, believing in the possibility of a happy future is far more difficult. With that in mind, how can you help your children stay positive and keep hope in their hearts and minds? You maintain your own no matter how dire the situation seems to be. There is an ancient Cherokee proverb that can help remind you of this struggle. In the proverb of the two wolves, the Chief is describing to his grandson the struggle between light and dark that is within each person. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.” “One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.” This parable was mentioned in the film Tomorrowland starring George Clooney. In the film, the situation on Earth is dire. Wars, famine, and floods are happening all around. In school, the focus is placed on what’s going wrong. No one seems to have any hope for the future. Except for the female protagonist of the film. Not only does she have hope despite what everyone else believes is inevitable, but she recites the parable back to her father to remind him that he taught her the story as a lesson to keep hope alive. The parable is about the internal struggle everyone faces. It can also be used as a tool to help you to filter what you bring into your heart and mind. When you absorb all the negativity, you feed the evil wolf. It’ll become more powerful as you feed it your fear, hatred, and disasters. You can choose to cut off the food supply to the evil wolf and focus on the good instead. This may seem difficult at first, but fortunately the other wolf doesn’t need a lot to grow stronger. Just by giving the good wolf small bits of conscious attention while depriving the evil wolf of its energy, you can see a huge shift in your internal energy. Which wolf are you choosing to feed? You may be feeding the evil wolf without even being aware of it. What simple steps can you do to feed the right wolf? Become mindful of your thoughts and what you’re allowing into your mind, both consciously and unconsciously. This includes what you hear from friends, family members, on social media outlet, and even the television shows you watch for entertainment. When you choose to watch television, pay attention to the content and energy projected. You might choose to turn the news off entirely. If that seems too drastic, then you might balance the negative news by actively seeking out positivity. Do you find that the only programs that interest you are filled with violence and doom-and-gloom stories? This could be documentaries as well as fictional programming: just because it’s true, it doesn’t mean you have to watch it. Notice how you feel while you’re watching these programs and how you feel afterwards. Are you fearful, angry, or depressed? Or are you energized and motivated to take action and fix a problem? Check in with your Internal Guidance System (IGS). This will help you recognize when a show may be provoking you to action versus one that’s just stirring up negativity. Use your IGS to check in after conversations with people, too. You may discover there are people who are draining your positivity and leading your towards the wrong wolf. Learn to identify the people who elevate your emotions. You can’t cut out all negative people, so learning how to bring up your energy and feed the good wolf despite those people is important as well. The more you shift our internal energy and focus, the more your children will pick up on your positive energy. They in turn, will become more positive and hopeful. They’ll see the good in the world around them and will surround themselves with like-minded people. Having hope doesn’t mean your children won’t face challenges. It means that they won’t be overwhelmed and frozen by fear in the face of those challenges. With their positivity and hope intact, you’ll watch as your children tackle enormous tasks and come out on top, living the lives you hoped for them; happy, safe, and successful, in a healthy, peaceful world.

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