Some good news

There’s so much bad news right now. Russia threatens to use its nuclear arsenal to hold on to its slipping territorial gains in Ukraine. A landslide in Venezuela has killed at least 25 people with another 50 missing. Economists continue to worry about inflation and if you listen closely, they even talk in hushed tones about the market being in or near a recession.

Finally, where I live in Pennsylvania, an election battleground state, we’re knee-deep in the political BS season. I love Autumn, but I’m starting to tire of a new tradition, nasty political commercial after nasty political commercial, and we’re still four weeks away from Election Day.

I’m saddened by what I’m seeing on TV and social media, but if you look closely, there’s still good news out there. Here’s two stories that made my day. 

Image by Daniel Kux via Pixels

Making a difference

Teacher Daniel Gill has been teaching for the past 52 years at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey and will retire at the end of the year. He may be hanging up his teacher’s badge, but he has plans to keep busy. 

He’s writing a book called “No More Chairs” which comes from an act of bias he experienced as a nine-year-old, when he and his friend, Archie, who is African American, went to a birthday party, and the mother turned Archie away, saying there were no more chairs.

“And she said it again, ‘you can come in, Archie can’t,’ my friend was humiliated,” Gill told a local CBS news station in New York.

It stayed with him and helped shape how he has taught, nurtured, and led in his classroom. Gill has kept an empty chair in his class and has always explained the reason to his students. “It’s an anchor to show kids there is room for everyone. There’s always a chair,” Gill said.

Yes, there’s room for everyone.

Image by Arek Socha via Pixels

Giving until it hurts

The media is full of upsetting news, but we don’t hear often enough that Americans are charitable. Americans gave $484.85 billion in 2021, a 4% increase from the previous year, according to a report from the National Philanthropic Trust a public charity dedicated to providing philanthropic expertise to donors, foundations and financial institutions, enabling them to realize their philanthropic aspirations.

In 2021, the majority of charitable dollars went to education, religious, human services, grantmaking foundations, and public-society causes. People give for many different reasons. Most studies suggest that first and foremost is an altruistic impulse that people want to help. Other reasons include the warm feeling they get giving. People contribute too for quid pro quo reasons, such as earning a tax deduction. 

Americans give of their time too. An estimated 30% of US adults, 77.9 million Americans, volunteered in 2019, contributing an estimated 5.8 billion hours, valued at approximately $147 billion, according to the AmeriCorps’ Office of Research and Evaluation.

The two stories remind me that the world may be a tough, cold place, but my heart doesn’t have to be, it can be full of hope and optimism.

13 thoughts on “Some good news

Add yours

  1. What a lovely read this is, Brian. With the world in the state it’s in; it’s so good to read some good news. I really feel for Daniel and Archie. What a horrible experience for them at such a young age. I love that Daniel has a spare chair in his classroom, even more so that he explains why to the children he teaches. Although I’m not religious, this reminds me of the table in the bible where all are welcome at God’s table (I can’t find which verse of the bible this is in, although I’ve looked online.) Thank you for sharing this post – it’s brightened up my day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s always good news out there. At least I hope so. Yes, that’s what I loved about Daniel’s story, that he turned a negative experience into something positive that would help others and make a difference. My faith, sadly, has its ups and downs. I agree with you that Daniel’s story reminded me of the welcoming verse. Of course, I went on a hunt to find it. I think there are many possibilities. I couldn’t find just one. I ended up on Luke 7:36-50, which tells the story of Jesus eating with a Pharisee and a sinner. It doesn’t mention a “welcoming chair” but talks about it in spirit. I don’t think it’s the one we’re both thinking of, but I’ve always liked the story. Probably because it speaks to hope (which I always need). Thanks for commenting. Good to know it brightened your day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to read some good news for a change, Brian. It’s the same here in the UK. Politics is in the gutter and difficult to find anything cheery on mainstream media. I’d be interested in the book when it comes out. Has a vibe of Claudia Rankine’s, Citizen: An American Lyric.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s good news out there, you just have to look for it. At least that’s what I tell myself. You’re right about the politics. In my state right now, it’s crazy. In a span of a few minutes, I can hear how Candidate A is the best thing since sliced bread. A few minutes later, I’ll hear how he’s really the devil in disguise. It’s 24/7 of that stuff. I tend to see positives and negatives of both of our two major political parties here in the US, so it’s just crazy for me. Anyway, I’ll be interested in reading more about Daniel Gill too. Thanks so much for commenting, good to know “good news” still has an audience!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks Julia, I appreciate the feedback. The secret is that I probably needed the “bit of light” more than anybody. I just felt like everything I was seeing lately (probably political commercials) was negative. Needed something to brighten my day. I hope it worked for others too. Love your blog. Interested reading more. Thanks for stopping by, very much appreciate it!

      Like

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