Sunday, December 17, 2017

Spend less time on negatives to see more positive change

 Indeed, it appears to be open season for alleging sexual improprieties at Government officials, evident by damning reports in the news over the last two months. 

But these allegations are yet to be proven, and as serious as they are, smirks and chuckles often accompany lively discussions when ave­rage citizens convey their opinions on the sensitive topic. So the general public is having fun with these issues since we have become numb or indifferent to the salvo of negative news on a daily basis. 

As a nation, we must understand a basic principle—negativity begets negativity. Put another way, the more negatives we see, read and hear about or are consumed with will only serve to procure and nurture a negative-thinking populace—an intolerant and bitter people, prone to violence and crime. We need to break this cycle, and the Government and Opposition, together with every institution, company and individual, must play a part.

There is a perception that elements in the Government would do almost anything to hold on to ruling power while opponents within the Opposition would do the same things to achieve governance. As such, average citizens get the sense that not half as much effort is being put into addressing national issues as opposed to discrediting members sitting on the opposite side in Parliament. The public needs to see more collaboration among our leaders, more cohesion and meaningful dialogue between the Government and Opposition in resolving major scourges like crime. Those are positives that will serve our country well.

The media also plays a huge role in determining people’s mindsets every day. Granted news of murders, robberies, assault, corruption, abuse, road fatalities and natural disasters must be made public, how these are disseminated must be improved. 

For instance, the print media often captures photos of distraught/crying relatives of murder victims on its front pages. Then more pictures of those in grief are taken at the related funerals several days later and given precedence again. So the public frequently endures a double dose of sadness for almost every calamity or fatality. While these events are surely newsworthy, do we really need to publicise a family’s sorrow, on multiples occasions, on front pages? The appeal here is to highlight more positive news.

The key to a better Trinidad and Tobago lies in the attainment of more positives while decrea­sing negatives. And the simple yet effective way to do that is by helping each other. As social be­ings, we feel good about ourselves when we help another person. It can be as simple as holding the arm of a blind man and taking him safely across the road or helping someone change a tyre.

 There are companies that have established assistant programmes where apart from financial assistance, employees give of their time. So the less fortunate may be assisted with the actual building of a house and/or painting it. Poor families and orphan children may get such assistance from individuals who can spare more time than money. More of corporate Trinidad and Tobago must adopt this selfless policy and motivate their employees accordingly.

If at least once a week, each of us made a concerted effort to help someone in any way we

can, we may begin to experience a degree of ful­-

filment. And feeling good about ourselves may give rise to increasing the frequency of assistance we render. Soon, we would be a happier people, giving and receiving help when needed, breeding positives, with less time spent on negatives.  

Dexter Rigsby

Mt Lambert