I Choose Good News

Truth told, I am rather sick of hearing bad news. NBC’s “Special Report” on the Boston bombings is on in the other room and I, frankly, am just not that interested in seeing any more than I’ve seen already. Not sure I should feel this way, but I do. Don’t misinterpret—I do care. It’s just that I choose to not obsess on bad news, thankful that I have the luxury to make that choice. Thankful I’m not the President.

Not that bad news is avoidable. It isn’t. But if you think about it, the evening news people could, if they wanted to, choose to weight their reporting on good news. There are plenty of good, redeeming stories out there that need to be told. And I, for one, would like to hear them. If I hear about another scandal or murder or contentious fight in congress tonight, I think I’ll scream.

So I turn my TV off, there will be no screaming. I’m re-reading a good book called Fast Living, a book on poverty. (Which we’re all sick of hearing about too. Yes, there I said it… I’m sick of poverty. What could possibly be good about it?)

Let me cite from the book, some good news about the state of poverty that I bet you haven’t heard:

  • “In the past eight years, the number of kids dying from measles has declined by 78% (from 733,000 deaths per year to 164,000) because we are completing the work of immunizing every child.”
  • “Twenty-two countries have cut their malaria rate in half in only six years. They did it with insecticide-treated bed nets, access to better medicines and spraying to kill mosquitoes. Globally, malaria infections have decreased by 19 million per year and malaria deaths have dropped by 140,000 per year between 2005 and 2009.”
  • “We used to say that 40,000 children die each day from preventable causes. In the 1990’s, that number dropped to 33,000 per day. By 2008, it dropped further to 24,000. And now it is down to 21,000. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday has been cut in half and we did it in one generation using a wide range of practical strategies, from creating access to clean water to training skilled birth attendants.”
  • “Every day there are 19,000 fewer children dying of preventable causes—every day!—despite the fact that the total number of births is increasing.” That’s remarkable progress. If we keep our current pace of progress, we will soon live in a world where massive numbers of children no longer die of preventable causes.
  • “Today there are about 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty (latest available data from 2005). And that’s good news. In 1981, 52% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today that number is 26%. If we were still at 52%, then an additional two billion people would still be suffering. We have already cut the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in half! And we did it in one generation.”

You can’t tell me there isn’t good news to be told. Personally, I could forever tell great stories on the out-of-the-way little island in Haiti. Feel-good stories. Stories that’ll warm your heart. Stories of transformation. Definitely stories worth telling… and hearing. And, while they’ll not likely make the 6 o’clock news, the stories being lived and told on La Gonave would stand up against any terrorist bombing or murder trial story. I guarantee it.

I believe that pictures tell great stories. Like these two: the beautiful fields of vegetables, above, and Madame Maude in her new bakery, at right.

Plus, I like to think that we all have some pretty good news of our own to share. Isaiah said it well…

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”  Isaiah 52:7