There’s a saying in my family.
“No news is good news.”
(I’ll grant you the irony of this, given my choice of career.)
It’s supposed to make us feel better when we have dull or monotonous days. The rationale? Hey, at least nothing bad happened.
I’ve found myself using the phrase less frequently, though. I suppose in some weird way I feel almost traitorous saying it when, well, I wouldn’t have a job if there were truly “no news.”
Sometimes, though, the grain of truth in the phrase strikes me.
There are days when I review the stories of the day and it seems like we’re on the brink of Armageddon.
I’d give my kingdom for a happy story on those days.
As a journalist, I’ve learned about some of the truly horrific things people do to one another and to innocent creatures.
It’s my responsibility to let the public know when these things happen for at least a couple reasons: so members of the public can be on guard to protect themselves in the event the person responsible is still at large, or even just so they are aware it can happen and take precautions to protect themselves; so people can see that the gears of society are properly engaged and laws are being enforced.
It’s not a pretty part of the job, and I almost have to harden myself to it at times.
But some days, no matter how hardened to it you think you are, it will weigh on you.
But then something reminds me that there’s just a grain of truth in my family’s saying; it’s not entirely true.
It never seems to fail – whenever the terrible news I have to impart starts to weigh on me, a story comes along to renew my faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.
That story can be as simple as a group getting together to raise money for a family going through a tough time, but it’s enough to bring a smile.
And that’s when I remind myself that I’m just not hearing about the tens of thousands of random acts of kindness happening each day.
It makes perfect sense, actually. To the people offering these random acts of kindness, it’s not news, it’s just living.
And maybe according to the strictest of definitions, they’re not “news” – but that doesn’t mean people don’t need to hear about at least some of them.
Because I can guarantee that if the abundance of “bad” news weighs on me, it weighs on others.
So, tell us so we can tell others.
If your Uncle Joe has never missed a weekend in 20 years of serving meals at the mission, let us know.
If your brother has fostered 35 children in the past 10 years, let us know.
If your cousin leaves work each night to then go counsel rape victims, let us know.
People need to know, lest they become jaded, that the good parts of humanity far outnumber the bad parts.