The first title I imagined for the parenting book I would someday write was Please Don’t Let the Light in Your Child’s Eyes Grow Dim. I had run into a 12-year-old girl whom I’d known at the age of four, when she was one of the brightest, most vibrant kids I had ever met. When I saw her at 12, I hardly recognized her. She was slumped into herself, subdued, and her light was … dim.
As I began writing, I was determined to articulate what I had come to understand about how to help children manifest their gifts and head into adulthood with joy and passion.
Hope: We hear it all the time. Heck, we say it all the time: “I hope I get the job!” or “I hope I make the cut!” or “I hope things work out!” The word “hope” adorns T-shirts, jewelry and bumper stickers everywhere. Our president even based an entire campaign on the notion.
So, hoping … is that all we’ve got?
Big wads of plastic in the ocean that stretch for miles and disintegrating polar ice caps are the kind of news stories that tend to make us feel hopeless regarding conservation efforts. Why bother to change our light bulbs to compact fluorescents if our planet’s imminent demise is a speeding train that can’t be stopped?
The reason we have these feelings is probably the work of environmentalists themselves. They’re sending the wrong messages, if you ascribe to the new field of neuro-conservation.
Instead of focusing the spotlight on results of scientific studies that prove our planet is rapidly warming, or on statistics about alarming species extinction rates, they should be talking about how an ocean view will make us feel happy or standing among trees will arouse our feelings of peacefulness.
After all, selling us emotions is what marketing professionals have been doing for decades. They know that we don’t just buy a car; we buy how that car makes us feel — wealthier, greener or more in control. Using the tenets of neuro-conservation may just be the boost that environmentalists need to gain support for their causes in a world that’s overrun with more scientific data than we know what to do with — or pay attention to.
What does hope mean to you? That’s the inspiration behind the Gaiam Hope Project. We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share stories of hope. Every day for the next month, we’ll publish those stories on GaiamLife.com. You’ll find new ideas to get your happy on, tips to be more optimistic and ways to have a little faith.
The Hunger Games is certainly the most frightening movie that I have ever seen … and, in a bizarre way, one of the most hopeful.
Even though it contains echoes of films such as 1984, Network and The Lord of The Flies, The Hunger Games is singularly unique in that it represents a very “right now” look at our celebrity-worshiping, violence-laden, reality-television culture, and it throws in some chilling warnings about the dangers of all-powerful government.
Having not read any of Suzanne Collins’ three books from which this film springs, my first impression upon hearing about the film’s central theme of a nationwide contest that pits 24 teenagers against each other in a fight to the death was ”Uh-oh, here we go again with the mindless violence…”