Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor
Globally, the world is scary. It would be foolish to deny that fact. There are terrorists, the coronavirus is spreading, children die from the flu, sober people get killed by drunk drivers, and the list continues. Individually, the world can also be scary. Maybe you received a medical diagnosis you did not want, maybe your home life is falling apart, or maybe you just do not know how you are going to make it one more day in this chaotic world.
It is natural to recognize that the world is not what you grow up dreaming it is. When I was a child, I knew there were bad things, but I did not know the extent of what was happening around me. Gradually, as I got older, I began to learn more about the awful things not only in Virginia and the U.S., but around the world. Last August, I was really shaken when a grandmother, mother, and baby were all murdered by their family member right near my rural hometown. The tragedy was overwhelming to think about at times. I did not even know the family, and yet sometimes I cry when I think about the grief the surviving husbands must feel every day.
That is just an example of something near Danville, but I know you can think of many tragedies throughout your life, whether they are personal or have affected others you know. When dwelling on the bad parts of the world, I can find peace, hope, and comfort through my faith. But we all have ways of coping, so I wanted to share a beautiful quote I found on Pinterest.
It goes, “See how the world could be in spite of the way that it is.” This quote is a call to action for each individual. In our head, we all have a vision of what a perfect world would look like, beyond just our selfish desires. Maybe you wish there were no sex trafficking victims or that girls never die from eating disorders. Whatever is on your heart that causes you pain to think about, that is what you should strive to change.
It is impractical to think that one individual can change the entire world. There are too many problems to be solved and no human is capable of fixing every single one, but it does not hurt to try.
For example, when I think of the world as it is, I often think about all the bullying that goes on in high schools. Being a teenager is a weird age, and it is even harder when other teenagers are being mean to you at school. My sister is a middle school teacher and sees bullying a lot. Is there a way for my sister or I to completely wipe out bullying or ensure that nobody will ever be mean to another student at school again?
Of course not, but we can make personal choices to be kind. I am biased because Elizabeth is my sister, but I believe that she is the kind of teacher who children long for: a kind one. My sister cares about her students’ lives outside of the classroom, she prays for them, and many times, she has been brought to tears telling me the hardships they face at home. Elizabeth, better known as “Miss Kueng,” cannot stop bullying at her school, but she can punish those who are bullying others, stand up for the victims, and never be a bullying teacher.
Overall, you have to focus on how things can get better. It is easy to think about the state of the whole world and feel helpless, but you must remember you have influence over your little part of the world. So each day, look for the sunshine, engage in work that matters, and believe that though the world is chaotic, there is hope still if only you will look for it.