“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’ (‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)” – Success Nation
I love this story. I especially love it because stories like this seem to have become harder and harder to find. It seems that daily our world becomes more and more skeptical, hard and pessimistic.
I find it interesting that, “One bad apple ruins the bunch,” meaning that if one is bad all are bad. Or, that we focus so intensely on “the cycle of violence or poverty,” meaning that if you observe or are exposed to something bad you will probably be bad as well. It seems that so many just assume the most negative of every person or every situation. There are help groups and preventative organizations to catch what we must expect and accept due to the negative elements in our world.
If you ask most people if the world would be a better or worse place 100 years from now, not surprisingly most will respond worse. (Supposedly this is a scientific research project). Why is this? If you watch television news or read the daily papers, how much of what you read is bad news? How much is bad news in locations that you have no connection to, that are too far away or too long-lasting and historical that you feel you cannot do anything about it? Most of it, I would guess, is bad or has negative connotations. Look at politics, campaigning, top business coverage. Even the stories that are listed as “strange” have ominous undertones. I tried to find short news compilations to represent my point and one of the shortest I could find was 2:38 min and only 2 of the 10 stories had an ever-so-slight positive tone. The shortest I found was only flash imagery and all of it looked bad to me. Well aside from one picture of the royal wedding.
Even the reporters seem angry but can you blame them?
On the flip side when I tried to find positive news reels, this is what I found:
Woah.. sorry guys, it said, “Good: Top Stories..” My bad. There were a couple positive notes in this one so I guess it works. So actually I did not find any good news compilations.
Is it possible that bad news is the only news that exists? Is it possible that our world is as bad as the papers and the telly indicate? I don’t think so. I do think bad news grabs our attention. Maybe it makes us feel better because someone has it worse than we do. Bad news is easier and more interesting than good news. Right? Honestly, I prefer CSI, Criminal Minds, Dateline or 48 hours to some sappy, everyone wins after-school program or life-time show. Why? These things are interesting from a psychological perspective for sure and these are the things that do exist in our society. Still.
What I think is that we need to occasionally put down the papers, shut off the television and start trying to be the change in the world we wish to see. Pessimism is contagious. It’s good to be aware. If you are not aware you can’t fix anything or work towards a better world. However, it is important to find balance, be aware of the evils but surround yourself with the postive.
Don’t get me wrong, good news is out there. Granted you have to actively seek it out, work hard to maintain it and sometimes even create those moments all by your wee little self.. but they are out there. You probably aren’t going to find them in any compilation, unless you create one yourself.
If you feel compelled to find your positive while sitting in front of the t.v. or only in your local neighborhood. That’s fine. I read a quote from Voltaire that stated we should all cultivate our own gardens. I mis-read it or didn’t read it completely as I later found out but I plan on keeping my own interpretation. We each need to create the optimism we want to liv in, hope for the best and plan for the worst. Surround ourselves with positive influences and in turn pass on the positive to others, pay it forward. Here are some of my favorite positive inspirations or movies or songs. Some are inspirational and some just make me laugh.
My final point and then I will get off my soapbox here, I recently had a teacher friend contact me through email and ask for some of the materials I had used while teaching at University. She said that her students were not interested in anything she had prepared and she was now looking to re-vamp her curriculum with some motivational materials. Motivational to her as well as her students.
Per Wikipedia- TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990, in Monterey, California. TED’s early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its origins in the Silicon Valley. The events are now held in Long Beach and Palm Springs in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, educatorSalman Khan, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED’s current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.
During my teaching era, one of my favorite sites to visit was TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). This is a site that started up in which featured well-done represents the best things about the Internet … and sometimes the world, for that matter. With the click of a button you can be inspired, educated, encouraged, wowed, or entertained by speakers from all walks of life.
Whether you’re looking to inspire or entertain your students, the following TED talks have terrific lessons embedded in fascinating talks.While not every single talk may float your boat, there are likely a few that you should think about showing to students this year.
O.K. now go on.. give someone a hug or a high five.. and don’t forget to give yourself one as well.. go spend time with friends and family and have some fun and make someone smile. Have a great day.
- The Mystery Box (claykelly.wordpress.com),
- Best of Ted (http://www.ted.com/talks)
- Top Ten Teds for Teachers (blog.simplek12.com)
- “An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an… (anoncentral.tumblr.com)
- The cult of TED (bbc.co.uk)
- A perfect weekend. Celebrating the ordinary. (breathelighter.wordpress.com)
- TEDxLive screenings near you: How to watch one day of TED2012 (ted.com)
- The 10 Most Important Educational YouTube Channels for Teachers (educatorstechnology.com)
- Find Us Faithful (temenos2.wordpress.com)