Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Media Fears: Who's Protecting the Children?

The World is Angry, with a capital "A".
I haven't felt so much anger in my life on this planet 
since I was a child of the '60's/70s
and the Vietnam War was on the lips of everyone back then.
We had three television channels,
and when the evening news came on,
a message to parents would signal them to excuse children from the room
because of frightening content regarding the War, was going to air.

I remember POW/MIA bracelets

I remember the college protests, and the Kent State massacre headlines--though I didn't see them in real time, because there was no such thing as re-runs of news back then. But I did hear about them.

At the same time, there were the segregation riots. 

Growing up in the South,
we had to take buses far from our neighborhoods
to the other side of town,
for the sake of segregation.
There were school days when I was told by my black friends
not to come to school the next day because of planned riots.
And then, on top of all that was the Women's Movement 
of that decade.
I guess one could say, I've seen much of societal turmoil in my life.
Because there was no such thing as the Internet back then,
it wasn't shoved down my throat from every direction.

Afterall, we were living in the South. 
You'd have to be a complete ignoramus not to know what was going on...
or be a child.
There was alot of fear-fueled anger then.
But, the adults protected the children from the awfulness of it.
As bad as I knew, I didn't know how bad it all was,
partly because the adults protected the children from the hard truths of a hard situation.
They excused us from the room when tones changed from civility to ugliness.
The turned off the TV, telling us to "go play".
The newsmen back then, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and their colleagues
were actual "Reporters" of the news, not creators of it.
They shared the events of the day as they knew them,
and then, in their honest efforts to be responsible journalists,
would offer what they called
an "Editorial"...stating with clarity that the next part of their presentation
was their own Opinions, based on investigating and observance.
It was generally a pretty short segment of the show,
but those men built their entire careers on integrity.

Back then,
Corporations took seriously, the need for Peace.
They put their money in it, such as the Coca-Cola TV Commercial:

Everyone knew that song.  It was a call for peace in brotherhood.
In my days, the messengers of peace were called, "Flower Children" or "Hippies"-- artsy-fartsy labels that sounded juvenile, but accurately described a grassroots movement for change.

I decided that I was a potential "Flower Child" because I too, wanted peace. I wanted the fearful and the angry to reconcile with love and peace. And I knew the adults in my life--my neighbors, my friends' parents, my teachers at school and church--they all wanted it too. 

Since 9/11,
we haven't had the opportunity to shield our kids from the realities of this life...
we've trained them to be aware of the possible dangers in the world they live in--
from child abductions off street corners to sex traffickers, drug pushers, insane people at the movie theaters, and of course, the Middle East terrorists that made "9/11" the Memorized Date in history
that it is...
and the hardest part of training our kids is that we don't get to frame all of this in a responsible narrative that would also protect our children's hearts from the awful weight of the world.

No, that narrative is lost in the intrusive, loud, crass, ugliness that is promulgated by the unspoken rulers of the world--The Media.
Depending on who owns the collective media outlets,
the "news" is presented to fit their agenda, which has little to do with any actual truths
and more to do with how quickly they can fill their pockets.

In an effort to close out some of the noisy, intrusive media,
we shut-off the cable/ Direct TV to our home three years ago.
I thought we were brilliantly responsible in doing that--
but apparently, it was only the tip of the Media Iceberg.

There's no such thing as Responsible Journalists left anymore.
No warnings exist on social media--
just alot of selfish agendas clamoring for validation in the forms of LIKES
screaming for attention
from every wanna-be-celebrity across the globe.

Every news station is precarious perched upon a three-legged stool of agendas:

Be First, Be Sensational, Be Unaccountable.
Truth is irrelevant in the media.
Opinions stated come with a quick one-sentence sound bite,
engineered, orchestrated, contrived so that it can pull in more money for the owners/ board members, stockholders, and everyone else on the payroll.

The Social Conscience Responsibility is nowhere to be found.
The Media machine is a fierce, capable, Enemy of Truth.

And we have a couple of generations of children
who have grown up with a smart skepticism of Authority.
Who can they trust?
Who's got their back?
Who's protecting their interests?

All of this leading me, 
a mother of seven children to ask the question:
Is it no wonder our children are struggling with the demands of life?
Struggling with relationships--in the family and in society.
Struggling in school--with the programs, with the teachers, with the extreme, outrageous government-implemented "Common Core", and "Leave No Child Behind" acts.
Struggling to Live.
My youngest two children attend Discovery Canyon Campus.
Google it and you'll come across this Newsweek Article:

Two of the young men and two of the young women mentioned in the article were friends of my youngest children.
We've been to more funerals in the past year,
than I've been to in my entire life.
One of the young men took his life the day after his mom brought cupcakes to school
to celebrate his birthday, 
with his friends. My son included.
For those kids left behind after a classmate takes their own life,
the school itself feels contaminated, scary, risky.
We've talked about moving our kids from DCC next year if we're still here in Colorado Springs.
Alot of students have moved, and noone blames them.
It's hard.
It's harder than we are able to grasp and put a narrative on--
the kind that frames the experience and puts it into a less-threatening situation
because truly, 
these suicides exceed our capacity to do so.

My own daughter is in counselling now because she is experiencing anxiety beyond what 
we could help her deal with...
she doesn't know from one day to the next who's going to choose to take their life
from her student body.
She takes cookies to her friends weekly,
she makes sure to tell all of her friends how much she loves them,
needs them, wants them to know she is there for them.
And she's sad to her bones for the ones she didn't know were going to take their own lives.

The impact of the world's anger/uncertainty/chaos
is shattering our kids' worlds too.
How can they have hope in their future when they are being bombarded with 
adult opinions on the certainty of failing securities to protect them?

What can we do?

Practice Peace.
  • I'm trying to make our home a haven. Practice the Danish "hygge" this winter, especially.
  • Blocking out the negativity as much as I can. "Unfollowing" is a habit now for my own sanity, those who engage in the chaos, the anger-baiting, the hateful diatribe on the topic-of-the-day.
  • Using my social media: Facebook & Instagram to share messages of Peace, Gratitude, and Faith.  I don't care if I get any "LIKES" or whatever, I know that my children see MY social media posts--that's the point, right?  
  • They see it.  
  • I want to be a voice of calm, an example of hope and steadiness in a loud, pessimistic, fear-fueled angry world.
  • More hugs, More eye-to-eye conversations about their strengths and future plans.
  • Less, "did-you-get-that-and-that-and-that-done?" commands.  Not right now.  Those directives can take a time-out.
  • Practice Peace.
  • Serve your neighbors. Bring the teens with you to serve someone else.
  • Say kind words to them, about them, with them, about others.
  • Practice Peace.
  • Express Hope in the Future. Make plans for enriching activities and trips.
  • Practice Peace.
  • Pray for our world.  Pray for the leaders of the nations to be soft when they can be, and to be strong when they must, and to be fair always.
  • Pray for ourselves to feel God's love for us always and to direct our paths.

We need to protect our children. Our children need protection. Above all else on our plates, this is number one priority: Let the Children Play.