by Leila Grandemange
I never thought I’d be writing about puppies and politics or even mentioning them in the same breath! But the other night, while watching the news I found a similarity.
Let me begin by taking you back to the start of my puppy parenting journey.Years ago, while raising my first pup, I realized that my focus was quickly drawn towards all her puppy mishaps! Frustration and negativity would surely have set in had I not been introduced to the wonderful world of training dogs. Books on such topics as training and dog behavior started lining my shelf and dog obedience class became the highlight of my week! Soon I realized that pups actually do countless wonderful, good, and acceptable behaviors throughout the day, simply I was not noticing. Once I put on my “good puppy” eyeglasses I began to see and reinforce all sorts of wonderful behaviors offered by my dog. Loaded with treats, and eventually a clicker, I set out on a delightful journey to learn all I could about canine behavior and training. I’m sure my puppy was grateful! Some of the most beautiful relationships on earth can be had with our beloved canine companions if we would seek out the good and train appropriately. Later on as a young mom I used similar techniques with my children and actively sought out positive behavior. Sure, mishaps still took place. Kids will be kids. But our focus remained on all that was good and I can honestly say—our home was and still is the most beautiful place on earth! So what does this all have to do with politics? Glad you asked!
As I watched the news after the horrific mass shooting in San Bernadino CA, my heart was particularly heavy. I listened as the reporter interviewed a government agent (CIA or FBI I can’t recall) and noticed something interesting. Questions and comments were being asked of him that indirectly sent the message that our government and law enforcement agencies were not doing enough. After all, how could these criminals possibly have slipped through their hands unnoticed? The man being interviewed acknowledged the reporter’s concerns, then said something that caught my attention. He said something to the effect that law enforcement officials work day and night to prevent threats from coming to fruition and that numerous attacks have been thwarted over the years, simply the public is not aware. I wondered— why are we not aware? Apparently lots goes on behind the scenes and citizens are being protected and we don’t even know. The reporter barely acknowledged his comment and moved on to his next question, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. I realized that for all the “bad” we see on the news, there are countless good deeds and heroic acts that take place in the world.
Like the puppy parent who only focuses on the negative behavior of their dog and unconsciously instills in them fear, the media (even though well-intentioned) may be training our minds to focus on all that is wrong with society, the government, and the world. The result— many of us are burdened with anxiety and living in fear. Acts of evil will always exist, but so will acts of kindness, heroism, and selfless deeds. Perhaps the media needs more balance. We cannot be ignorant of world events (good or bad). However only pointing out the negatives of our society can’t be healthy, especially for the young minds that are so easily influenced. The media play a powerful role in shaping society. Fear breeds fear, hope breeds hope. While we may not see or hear about every heroic deed, life saved, or terror attack that’s been thwarted by our military or law enforcement, we can be certain that stories of healing and hope happen each and every day! Even during the San Bernadino attacks heroism was being displayed by officers and fellow citizens to protect lives. Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families who lost their loved ones. They will not be forgotten.
Dear friends, our country is in desperate need of HOPE! I wonder . . . what would happen if we put on our “good people” eyeglasses and filled our minds with all the good news that exists in our families (pets included of course), in our society, and the world? What if we focused on and intentionally reinforced the good? Kind words, a smile, an encouraging letter, even Facebook and Twitter can be powerful tools to light up our world with hope. It’s okay to listen to the news, but let’s turn our attention to inspiring stories and to our HEROES—those who protect innocent civilians and our country, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Blessings, Leila Grandemange
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
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