Mrs. Y Reporting for Duty

Over the years, the job of a teacher has slowly evolved. We are counselors, therapists, parents, and oh so much more. We never complain or compromise because we love our students as if they were our own. But now, in the wake of the school shooting in Florida, when did teachers become soldiers too?

Over the past week, I have seen various Facebook posts and news articles about how the solution to our problem is to have teachers conceal and carry weapons in their classroom. I have had several people, parents and students included, approach me and ask me if I would consider doing this.

Let me start by saying there are so many things wrong with this idea I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, I’m 5’0 and close (enough) to 100 lbs. If any of my students (or anyone else in the school for that matter) wanted to overtake me to grab my gun it would take little effort.

Second of all, the suggestion of 156 guns floating around the school would only put us at more risk. Teachers multitask enough between helping students, grading papers, and holding our bladders. Keeping track of a gun is just another thing teachers don’t need to add to the list. All it takes is one teacher to lose track of theirs to put the whole school in danger. I can’t even keep track of my pen for an entire block, forget about a gun.

Also, why do we have an inherent trust of all teachers everywhere? How many news reports have we seen of teachers being convicted predators and criminals? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see any of them with a gun.

I’m not even for it being option for teachers. What kind of message would it send to my students that I could have a gun to protect them but I chose not to? How can I expect my students to feel they are in a safe learning environment knowing they can be safer? They would feel betrayed.

And I know this because I could sense the betrayal when my students asked me if I would conceal and carry and I said no.

Instead I told my students my opinion on the matter and that it is not my job to protect them to this extent. The school already has a protocol in place and that’s what I would follow. I went to school to learn math so I could teach them and part of my teaching exam did not involve boot camp (because trust me, if it did, I would not have been hired).

And that’s when a student responded, “that’s the same thing as being a shop owner and someone comes in and starts shooting your customers and you don’t do anything to protect them.” I responded that just like me, that’s not their job. And he said “so you’re saying it’s ok to stand by and watch and not do anything about it.”

Here’s the thing, I love each of my students dearly. Would I take a bullet for them? Would I stand in the line of fire for them? I really don’t know. It’s hard to say what anyone would do in the moment. It’s hard to even say that if I had a gun I would think to pull it out in that split second. But I am positive that I would do anything in my power to protect them.

But there’s a difference between what I would do and being told what I must do.

I cannot imagine being a teacher at one of these schools and watching one of your students get hurt right in front of your eyes and feeling like you should have done something more to protect them. Because that’s who we are as teachers, it’s how we are built.

But we are not soldiers. We are not human shields. We did not go to school to become body guards. We are educators and society has seriously lost sight of this.

What upsets me above all else, more than having to tell my students that I didn’t love them enough to protect them by carrying a gun, is that I was put in this situation to begin with because society thinks this is a perfectly reasonable request. And this reveals a deeper problem about what people think of teachers.

Why have we completely glossed over practical solutions like increasing the amount of security we have in schools and gone straight to putting teachers in the line of fire? While we are busy protecting our students, who will protect us? What you may see as me being able to protect myself with a weapon, I see as putting a target on my back. And the reason you may not see it this way is because society stopped seeing teachers as human beings a long time ago.

When is society going to start caring about the well being of their teachers?

I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I have seen the words “mental health” over the past week. Criminals, victims, parents, but what about the teachers? When are we going to care about the mental health of teachers who wear so many hats day in and day out? Now we are being asked to put on camouflage to be thrown into battle with no shield?

Enough is enough. Teachers are people too. We may love these students as much as our own but they are not our own. “Our own” are waiting for us to come home at the end of the day. Society has taken advantage of the love and affection we have for our students and is attempting to once again manipulate us. We will do whatever we can to protect our students but it is not our moral obligation to take a bullet for our students and it is not ok for anyone to make us feel like it is.

All students are entitled to an education, but none of them are entitled to my life.

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The Diary of a Guilty Teacher

They say that between years 4 and 5 teachers reach a bump in their careers. Now that they’ve learned the ropes and are masters of their own classrooms with lessons they can use from year to year, their eyes are now open to all of the other issues facing education: truancy, administration, parents being overly involved or not at all, standardized testing, and the list goes on and on. Sure, they’ve noticed it before. But not like this. Never like this. It is between years 4 and 5 where they decide if this is really the career for them or not. If they can get past this hump, they are good for life. If not, well, it’s time to find another job.

This is year 4.5 for me and I’ve definitely hit that bump. Now that I feel more confident in the classroom, I’ve opened my eyes wider to the issues facing education. But above all issues I’ve noticed, there is one that reigns supreme, one that no matter whether you’re in the inter-city or suburbs that affects education unlike anything else: apathy.

Specifically, student apathy towards education. The number of students who do not care about their education enough to do their homework or to study for tests and quizzes or even show up to class is overwhelming. This year more than ever I noticed it. But looking back, this has always been an issue for me in my career.

I know it seems silly to a non-teacher. If a student doesn’t care, why is that your problem? That’s their education they’re there to receive from you so if they don’t want to learn or do anything, that’s on them and their parents, not you. And while this may be true, any educator will tell you one of the hardest things we have to do to watch a student’s apathy lead to their demise.

You see, from the moment a student walks into our classroom, we have begun to form a relationship with them. Within the first two weeks, I can assess a student’s potential. Within the first month, we have reached an understanding of each other and know how to work together. By the second month, that respect and understanding has turned to love. For me, the hardest part about teaching is watching someone you love make poor choices when you know how much they are capable of.

And so what happens? Teachers beat themselves up going from counselor, to assistant principals, to parent-teacher conferences trying to help everyone understand that this child needs help. Success plans are made, schedule changes are considered, and yet the age old saying, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” sings true. No matter what you try to do for your students, at the end of the day if they don’t choose to do their homework, study, show up to class, and care, there’s nothing else you can do. And after giving all of that time and energy to the success of this child, coming to that realization is the hardest part about it all.

This is the biggest issue that has made teaching 4.5 the hardest year for me.

My first year of teaching, my mentor told me you have to care just a little bit more than your students. Then they will figure out a way to meet you and then you do it again until they finally meet your standards. I haven’t been teaching nearly as long as her, but I think this advice is flawed. Because caring a little bit more than each of my 120 kids is exhausting. And after 4.5 years of following this advice, I am completely exhausted.

I am exhausted from the student who has 15+ absences in my class and when she chooses to show up, makes a mockery of my class. When she decides to stay after to catch up on material she has missed and I finally feel like we’ve made progress and she assures me she’s going to turn it around, she misses the next 5 classes.

I am exhausted from chasing a student who chooses to sleep in my class every day and trying to convince him there are better math classes he could be taking that will help him achieve his future goals. Or he can do the math he signed up for, and after we create a plan to help him get there, he comes in the next day and sleeps through class again.

I am exhausted from the number of students who never meet my standards for how much I want them to care. And more than anything, I am tired of taking their apathy personally.

Right before winter break, a wise teacher gave me some life-changing advice: I needed to find a way to care less.

I know that sounds terrible, as if the solution to apathy is more apathy. And the sheer amount of guilt I felt from deciding to follow this advice is insurmountable. But what I learned over the past month was that I love each and every one of my students dearly and I will always care about them and their success. But it is not my job to care about their education for them and more importantly, it is ok to love myself more than I love them. There are more important things in life than my job. My husband, friends, family, all of this will be there when I’m not teaching anymore and it’s OK to make time for them instead of grading papers and writing emails.

Now, I leave every day at 3:45. I don’t take any papers home (if I can avoid it), I turned off my student messaging app, I check my email once maybe twice after I come home. I don’t hold students to such strict deadlines and I’m a much more lenient teacher. I don’t chase students around trying to make them make up their tests and quizzes and let them come to me. And because I don’t stress myself out as much, I don’t come back from each day with heavy shoulders and feeling tired from the day. Instead I focus on the students who do care and want to be successful. I will continue to drop heaven and earth in a heartbeat to help them. I pour my heart and soul into my lesson plans because planning fun and engaging activities has always been my favorite part of teaching. I continue to fight for, not just my apathetic students but, all of my students, just in a more healthy and less all-consuming way

For the first time in my career, I have the time and energy to care and love myself. I actually have time to go to the gym now and do the things I love, like blogging. I am so much more tuned in with myself and my own emotions because I’m not constantly filled with emotions from my students and the day. After 3:30, teacher me is turned off and I can be myself again for the first time in 4.5 years.

But the downside to all of this: I feel so guilty. I can’t seem to rid my self of the feeling that I should be doing more.

And why do I feel guilty? Because society unfortunately makes teachers into martyrs who stay at school until 7pm, bring home papers to grade, are available 24/7 for their students day and night. They are portrayed as these incredible selfless heroes who are “underpaid and overworked.”

Well, over the past month here is what I have figured out. Teachers can be all of this and more, but between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm and there is nothing wrong with that.

It would be naive to assume all of the negativity can be turned off and happy teacher can be turned on, and it’s definitely a work in progress. But one thing is for sure: this mindset change has allowed me to successfully work through my 4.5 year teacher bump and I’m so ready for a life of learning and loving. Not just for my students, but myself as well.

Apathy: Now Part of a Balanced Breakfast!

Most people don’t know this about me, but in March of last year, I battled depression. I was down all the time and had no idea why. I loved my job, my newlywed marriage was amazing, I had great friends, and I had no reason to be unhappy. But I knew something was wrong, and everyone else could see it too… and everyone wanted to fix me.

What’s wrong?
Is everything ok at home?
Maybe it’s weather.
You probably just haven’t been getting enough sleep.
You should drink more water.
Have you tried yoga?

To quote Hyperbole and a Half, this is what it was like:

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Up until this point in my life, the only knowledge I had about depression was from Hyperbole and a Half (which is an incredible book that I highly recommend if you’ve never read it). But to actually experience everything that she had been going through was frightening. Amidst a constant state of sadness and insecurity there is a looming sense of dread from having no idea what is troubling you to begin with.

Eventually, after about a couple months and a lot of inner reflection (and maybe some yoga), I was able to bounce back to my normal self.

And suddenly, I was Public Enemy Number One… Again.

I am happy, bubbly, enthusiastic, optimistic, and laugh without fear of judgement. I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person and make no apologizes about it. This is who I am at my ground state and I am proud of it.

But this is also the reason why I have only about four best friends and only surround myself with a select few. Most people can’t “handle” me when I act myself.

I am constantly accosted by even random strangers asking me to calm down or who give me dirty stares when I laugh too loud. I never have a quick, snarky response to any of them because it usually takes me by surprise since the people I choose to surround myself with on a regular basis don’t treat me like this. I also can’t imagine talking to someone that way and have no idea how random strangers feel like they can treat someone they don’t know that way either, but I digress.

But that summer, fresh off a spout of sadness that I had never before experienced, every time I was met with this kind of disdain, it was even more shocking than before.

Everytime I went out of my comfort zone to socialize and try to make new friends and start with a cheerful, “hello!” the dirty looks I’d get from people who thought they were too cool to talk to me took me by surprise.

The optimistic posts I would put on Facebook, amongst terror and political pessimism, that was met with comments from people that accused me of being insensitive appaled me.

The random stranger who told me I’m laughing so loud that I’m “disturbing her and everyone else in the restaurant” while I was catching up with a best friend I hadn’t seen in over a year truly upset me.

And it’s not just me. The other day I was watching Shark Tank and there was an incredibly enthusiastic lady who was selling plush animals with a comb inside of it. Literally two sharks refused to give her an investment because she was “too much” and they “wouldn’t be able to handle working with her.” Mark Cuban asked her if she ever “turned off.” My first thought was wow, I’ve been there girl. The minute she said “ok this is me turning it off” she was given a deal from Lori.

Suddenly I realized: society can’t handle happy people, they want to fix you when you’re depressed, and the only solution (for those in the business of pleasing everyone around you, anyway) is to balance your emotions the way you handle your diet.

It’s truly no wonder that apathy is the world’s biggest problem right now.

So what’s the solution here? I’m no Dali Lama, but what I do know is that we live in a world of political turmoil, terror, and pain. Don’t discount any single ounce of happiness and in any form. Laughter, optimism, a greeting, a smile. Because seriously, this world needs more of it. And moreover, you never know how someone is or was feeling deep down. That happiness may be the last thing they have to hold on to.

New Year’s Resolut-one

I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I either go overboard and make up 7 and can’t remember half of them by January 6th, or I choose one, like go to the gym every day, and then feel a sense of dread, pain and guilt every time I don’t meet my goal.
Well, this year I’ve decided to do something different. I found this great book over the holidays called “Eat Pretty Every Day- 365 Daily Affirmations.”


It has an affirmation for every day which I have been reading before bed each night to help you look and feel beautiful. It has tips on staying healthy, skin care, beauty, and helping you lead a happier life. What I love most of about this book is that it is organized by seasons, so you don’t necessarily start on the first page of the book, but rather which day of the current season you’re on.

On the 10th day of winter (New Year’s Day), the daily affirmation was, instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, pick a word that will be an overarching goal of what you want to achieve this year. It could be relaxation if you felt the previous year was very stressful, or happiness, if you want to be sure to pay particular attention to what is and is not making you happy this year. Use this word as your guide throughout the year when you are attempting to make a difficult decision, or if you have a free day and can’t decide how to fill it. Keep this word somewhere that you’ll see on a regular basis as a constant reminder of your goal.

My word for 2018 is balance. I am halfway through my 4th year of teaching and have come to some pretty difficult realizations. I have allowed my job to consume my life. For the past four years, I have stayed at school into the late hours, bringing papers home to grade, doing lesson plans until 8 or 9pm, answering messages from students while cooking dinner with my husband. I have sacrificed so much time, happiness, dinner dates, and quality time with friends and family. I allowed myself to believe my students’ education was more important than my own happiness. I would then be painfully disappointed and really take it personally when my students didn’t put forth the same time, effort, and energy that I was putting in for them. For the majority of my students, the sacrifices were worth it, but were they necessary? I love what I do, I love my kids, and I know there is a balance that needs to be found in there somewhere, and 2018 will be the year I work towards finding it.

Because I have come to realize that I deserve it. I have an amazing husband, incredible friends, a wonderful family and I should not be letting anything in the way of that. For so long I felt a pang of guilt when I would receive a message from a student during the late hours of the night with a homework question and thought I can answer that later, let me enjoy this wonderful evening with my husband. But, in the back of my mind, I would be distracted, thinking how should I respond to her? or I want to solve that problem right now so I can help him get to the next step, or become upset if I received a ridiculous message about grades. At which point, I just respond since I’m not 100% present anymore anyways. 2018 is the year I shut down post school stress once and for all. From now on, the only way I’ll check my email after hours is if I absolutely have to or want to but definitely not while I am enjoying myself with my friends, family, and most importantly, my husband.

For 4 years, I would watch teachers leave the building right when the bell rang and thought wow I wish I could leave now, I just have so much work to do. How’d they do it? Well this is my year! I’m going to be that teacher who finds the right balance between 8:15am and 3:45pm so that I can leave on time and leave my work at school. Because if there is something I have learned from experienced teachers it is that there are more important things to life than my job. I have definitely lost sight of this concept. For so long I have believed how can the life of one person (mine) be more important than the 100 that I teach?

You see, when you spend 3-5 hours per week with your students, you start to build a real connection with them. Their successes are yours, and likewise, their struggles are yours. So much so that you start to believe theirs supersede your own. I would do anything for my students, but I must learn to balance how I feel about their trials and triumphs with my own. I can’t stop feeling for them, but I can’t continue to believe they are always the same or greater than my own. Certainly not after 3:45pm. I know it will be tough, because even more difficult than not taking papers home from work is not taking home emotions.

With all consuming jobs, like teaching, it’s difficult to create the separation between life and work, but it needs to be done. For so long I have been putting my students first, but it’s time I put myself first. I’m sure there’s a balance there, and this year will be the first step towards my journey to finding it.

Love Thyself

Today I went to a Mexican-Korean-American fusion taco bar by myself to watch the Redskins game in a cute black redskins shirt, black and white rainboosts from Nordstrom, long silver necklace from The Limited (basically I looked adorable), reading my book during the commercials and eating my single chicken taco while drinking a Crispin cider, when I realized I have found myself. Not in the sense that it was in that moment I finally realize this; just that I realized I have finally become the woman I have always wanted to become.

I am a woman that values education. I pride myself in being a role model for my students. I dress conservatively enough to demand respect, but still know how to dress in a stylish manner. I like to believe i have influenced many of my students to change the way they dress. I like to show them that there are other things that you can do in your free time other than smoke drugs and the other poor decisions they make on a daily basis, like pick up an awesome book.

I am a nerd at heart. I love to read anything, write to my hearts content, and create equations with every day life and then solve them. I like to teach my boyfriend math at bars and write him mathematical equation love letters and then teach him how to solve them.

I have an appreciate for fashion. Not the kind of fashion that costs thousands of dollars, but more affordable fashion that I wouldn’t feel guilty about spilling mustard on, because I am the type of woman that does that on a regular basis. I have also finally found my financial independence to afford these luxuries (even though my sweatshirt was stolen from my sister’s closet. I am a woman with no shame!)

I have a great appreciation for football. Not just as a testament for my fondness for the sport, but mostly because I am a woman who takes great pride in where she is from. I have lived in the DMV my entire life which is why I am a die-hard Redskins fan. And I will get into a bar fight with anyone who calls them “dead-skins” or “bloody-skins” as the man did today at my Mexican-Korean-American taco bar. (As I said, I am a woman with no shame).

I am a woman who has a strong devotion to her family and friends. I have some incredible friends and choose to be close to people very selectively. I am, afterall, a Scoprio; trust is everything. Do me wrong once and you are forever dead in my book. But it has taken me a long time to realize that my best friend of all who understands me the best and accepts me for who I am no more no less is myself.

I have reached a point in my life where I have looked around and realized how adorable I must look, but my first thought had always been “I wish (so-and-so) were here to see how cute I look right now! I wonder what they’d think!” But today, I just smiled. Because for the first time I realized I didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion. I love myself and mine is the only opinion that matter.

Fresh of the Yact

Has anyone seen the new show “Fresh Off the Boat?” I have to say when I first saw the commercial for this show with my friend Lauren I was so excited. I couldn’t believe they were making a show about my childhood! If you haven’t heard of this show, it’s based on a memoir by chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his life as a first generation Asian-American growing up in the states with traditional Asian parents.

Well, boyfriend and I finally watched it yesterday and I have to say I am thoroughly disappointed.

The beginning of the first episode starts off completely accurate. When Eddie Huang comes home asking for “white people food” after being laughed at in the school cafeteria for “eating worms,” it took my back to my middle school days when my mom packed me Indian food and the kids at school stared at me with a disgusted face and said “EWWWW WHAT IS THAT???” (kids can be so cruel). Every time there after when my mom tried to pack me Indian food I would beg her for anything else. I was subjected to peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the remainder of my middle school career.

And then there was the reference to the difference between how grades are viewed between American and Asian parents. This is a source of so much comedy with any Asian comedian.

So when the white kid next door brings home straight C’s and is rewarded with a basketball hoop and Eddie Huang brings home straight A’s and is rewarded with even more school work, it was nothing I hadn’t expected.

And of course there are tons of hilarious jokes about how cheap Asian mothers are. All funny and true (to some extent).

But it was what followed in the second half of each episode that will probably stop me from watching this show. After Eddie skips out on his mother while she is trying to make him do additional school work, his dad and him have a heart to heart about how he doesn’t get to have any fun. This scene ends with Eddie and his dad playing basketball and his mother sending Eddie’s other two brothers to stop studying and join them.

There are so many things wrong with this scene I don’t even know where to begin. First and foremost, every Asian kid knows better than to complain about doing work and that they don’t have fun. Sure, it’s a thought that crossed all of our minds as children; while everyone else was at a boy-girl party we had to be locked in our rooms studying, and if there was no homework to be done, we were trapped with our fathers learning the next topic in math. And you were especially out of luck if you brought home your math book because my dad had no problem making me do the even problems that were never assigned to me. Did I ever once ask my dad if I could hang out with friends instead? Absolutely not. I don’t need an addition 100 problems. Did it ever cross my mind? You bet. Everyday. What would have happened if I ran away the way Eddie did? I wouldn’t want that punishment.

And then there’s Eddie’s little brother who has two girlfriends and his dad says something to the effect of “you go boy, just don’t tell mom.” That would never, ever, happen. Not in a million years. Unless the other two girls were also Korean. If it was Eddie’s sister, she would be dead.

And then there’s Eddie’s mother who tries to fit in with the American neighbors. I have never met an Indian lady trying to fit in with her American neighbors. Immigrants FLOCK, like CRAZY. It’s a little shocking really how they find each other. I grew up in a small part of Maryland where you wouldn’t think a single Indian existed. But they were there. My mom may have had to drive 20 minutes away, but she found people. That’s what they do. They don’t try to “fit in” with the neighbors (unless they are also Indian).

So why does ABC change the stories around so much? The reality is this: the truth wouldn’t make good t.v. In fact, it would depress half of you, and the other half would just be bored. It would be the same ending everyday; Eddie studying. The only episodes that would be entertaining would be when Eddie tried to defy his parents, but there is absolutely nothing funny about those situations. This show is completely Americanized to make good t.v. and to entertain the American populus this show is geared towards. In fact, even when the press were given an opportunity to question the directors and cast members, they hardly asked any questions about the show and instead asked them about fortune cookies and chopsticks. I recently found out that Eddie Huang too has an issue with this portrayal of his memoir; “The network tried to turn my memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot for America. I hated that.” (read the full article HERE).

Sons and daughters of immigrant parents did not leave glamorous lives or funny ones. We had to live our lives up to our parents standards, living by their rules, and face the harsh consequences when we don’t. Most of us were forced to become doctors, lawyers, or engineers and then go on to marrying someone of our own race. Everything must be approved by our parents, and most of our lives are arranged by our parents. We have to go to college, we have to be number 1 in our class, we have to get straight A’s. We hardly had fun outside of school except with our other Asian friends. We weren’t allowed to hang out with anyone of the opposite sex, never the less have a boyfriend, except for the rare situation where said boyfriend/girlfriend was also Asian and extremely smart. Education was our life and there was little we were allowed to do outside of that.

But the thing is, our parents are completely and totally justified in acting like this. They really did come to America to live the American dream. My father came to America in his early 20s and worked as a chicken farmer until he was able to save enough money to bring my mother to America and eventually build a beautiful life for me so that I could have endless opportunities; opportunities that he did not have growing up in India. He left all of his family and friends behind to build a new life here.

That is one thing that really bothers me about this show (among so many other things); this show keeps talking about how his parents “miss their friends in Washington D.C” completely ignoring that his parents came from Korea! That’s where his family and friends are that he truly left behind. Not another part of America! My parents moved around America 4 or 5 times since they first arrived. Each time they made new friends, kept in touch even to this day, but it’s their friends in India that they consistently miss and talk about, not their friends in Alabama!

Now, I’m not denying this show is hilarious. I just finished watching the third episode and I have to admit it is a pretty hilarious show. What bothers me about it is that they try to play off this show as “the struggles the children of immigrants go through” and it’s just not true. So watch the show because Eddie Huang is at hilarious kid with a hilarious family. Just expect the accuracies to be kept to a minimum.

Why I Never Watch the News

The last time I watched the news was when I was in high school. I remember sitting on the couch with my dad and the local reporters were telling us about a cat who got stuck in a tree and the firefighters were struggling to get her out. I remember thinking to myself I cannot believe these people couldn’t come up with anything better to report than this. Don’t get me wrong, I did legitimately feel bad for the poor kitten, but this was clearly a time filler and instead of reporting where we’ve started to make progress in the sciences or poverty, we were forced to sit and watch more negative garbage. It’s as if they knew they had an extra 2 minutes of reporting time and they automatically ruled out all of the positive things going on in the world and found something, anything, negative going on out there.

It as if the news refuses to report anything good going on anywhere so they are forced to find the most dramatic thing possible, even if it’s as frivolous as cats stuck in trees. As a result, we associate “news” with something “negative.” Anytime someone says, “have you been following the news?” we never expect them to say “we’ve made strides with poverty” or “we’ve made progress on finding the cure to cancer,” even when those statements are actually true. It’s usually something along the lines of “some dude somewhere is sick with something that you have as much of a chance of catching as you did as catching the Bird Flu. Be careful out there.”

We never hear about all of the healthy countries, or all of the countries who didn’t have an earthquake shake their population, or how long it’s been since a country has been effected by a Tsunami. We don’t hear about how much money UNICEF has made in an effort to eradicate Iodine deficiency. Or that the March of Dimes has saved so many lives o of premature babies. Your local community has raised thousands of dollars towards fighting breast cancer but instead you are at home watching how Switzerland has made their TSA requirements stronger because of Ebola.

The best example of media manipulation by far is global warming. If you read real science articles, the majority of scientists will tell you that global warming is either 1) a hoax or 2) exists to some degree but is nothing to worry about. Consider who initiated this revolution: Al Gore… a POLITICIAN! He has absolutely no scientific background at all. The earth naturally warms up and cools down on it’s own (hence, Ice Ages). It has nothing to do with our carbon footprint, carbon emissions, or anything that we are doing. But it makes you worry, doesn’t it? That is exactly why the media harps on it so much. However, this blog post is not about Global Warming and I am very anti-using my blog to promote my political beliefs, so moving on.

Every day people are winning the war against cancer, lives are saved because of your local firefighters, doctors, nurses, lives are changed due to strides in education, science, mathematics, our country is being protected by our soldiers. For everyone person that dies two more are born and will impact the world in ways we can’t imagine. But this is not what the media chooses to focus on.

People ask me “how do you have no idea what is going on in the Middle East?” or “you’re not afraid of catching Ebola?” but to them I ask “do you know who just won the Nobel Peace Prize?” By the way, it was a 17 year old Pakistani woman who won for makes strides for the right for all children to have access to education. She has an amazing story, survived a brain injury after being a target from the Taliban, and still went on to being the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Pretty incredible right? Definitely didn’t see that on headline news anywhere and no one I know knew. To the media, she was just another number, another target by the Taliban. They didn’t care about who she was, what she was doing, and when she was healed.

People spend hours on end in front of a box that has taken on the responsibility of telling you what to value and what is important. 9 times out of 10, that’s something depressing, negative, or scary. If you don’t believe me, accept my challenge: go to the homepage of any news website, pick up any local newspaper, or change the channel to NBC and look at the headlines. What you’ll find will never be positive.

CNN: “High school players face sex assault charges”

AOL: “Spain increases quarantine amid Ebola fears”

NBC: “Not Just California: Droughts Extend Across Americas”

News reporters have such an incredible opportunity to impact change that they never take advantage of. They can change this world of hatred and pessimists into optimists and positivity. But, instead they have forced us into a world of negativity so we can spend one more night in fear and wake up the next morning afraid to open our eyes to face the world. And for what? The sad reality is fear sells. And we are just manipulations in their stock market.

I recently came across “A Two-Minute Case for Optimism” by Steven Pinker and in it he tells an interesting perspective.

As it happens, the numbers tell a surprisingly happy story. Violent crime has fallen by half since 1992, and fiftyfold since the Middle Ages. Over the past 60 years the number of wars and number of people killed in wars have plummeted. Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age.

(Full story can be found here, it’s a great read: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/secretlife/blogposts/steven-pinkers-two-minute-case-for-optimism/)

It angers me that regardless of how much good is going on in the world, the media decides to focus on all that is going wrong in the world instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to open up our eyes to good. Instead of purely focusing on all of the negativity going on in the world, why not focus on any positives? It is the duty of the media in our society to provide us with current events. That’s not always stories of the sick, the murderers, and the rapists. Not all “news” is negative. News should also consist of heroes, game changing scientists, Nobel Peace Prize winners.

No, I have my own values and decide what is important to me and follow those stories. I refuse to allow a black box or pieces of paper to tell me what to value today and then use those values to manipulate my emotions tomorrow. No, I don’t need a man in a suit or writers in New York telling me what to care about in my life. I believe in what I believe, value what I value, and emulate positivism; not live in fear, doubt, or pessimism. I refuse to be a pawn of the media, which is why I never watch the news.