March 13, 2017
- While winter never quite took hold in this part of the nation, and most of the U.S. missed out on the expected reboot winter gives mother nature, this is the time of year our minds turn to spring cleaning and new growth. It’s all too easy to gather unnecessary items in our home. By nature, we tend to bring items into our home more often than we take them out. Each time we return home, it is common to bring new items into our home, but rarely to we practice this procedure with old items laying around, taking up square footage. The removal of unwanted items is a classic example of addition by subtraction. We add precious space by removing the clutter.
I think it is easy for us to let similar clutter accumulate into our lives in the same manner. We tend to busy up our minds with that ever present buzz of negativity floating around the airwaves. This is not entirely our fault, just think of what makes us tune into a program, or click on an article. We see an outrageous headline, and are intrigued to read further because we either want to see how the story ends, or it is nothing more than a boredom buster during a midday drag.
Media outlets are all clawing and scraping to gain an edge in ratings, and typically that means outrageous headlines. More often than not, headlines are absolute hyperbole, and by the time you reach the end of the article, they have completely come full circle to make the initial headline obsolete once they bring in those awful facts that ruin a good story.
I understand that we live in a culture of “want it now” in every realm of our life. We often don’t bother to scroll through the entirety of an article, and media outlets are well aware of our need to quench the thirst of our hard-to-please minds. Headlines drive mouse clicks, and that is how they justify to advertisers how many people are navigating their site. If you are pulled into a headline, I encourage you to not get caught up in “headline panic”, but take time to read a story all the way through, even if you have to scroll.
I challenge you to clean up some space in your mind by booting out the negativity that is relentlessly being trolled in front of you. Instead of forwarding an outrageous headline, or turning up the volume for a “breaking news alert”, instead take time to write a hand-written letter, or call up and ask how your parents are doing. You could even go as far as to taking a walk in nature, or show your children how to skip a rock. You might accidentally find yourself having fun.
News outlets salivate at the phrase “polarized nation”. Personally, I see more people working together in the world, than attempting to drive it apart. In this season of change, don’t forget that no matter how much addition we do by subtraction, it will always be unraveled by division.
- -Mr. Gossett, Chatfield Instructor