Hatred. Murder. Brutality. Pain. Dishonesty. This is what you hear when you turn on the news or go online. It seems that these days there is no escape. One day seems worse than the next. The political climate is discouraging, to say the least. This leads us to believe that our present is bleak and our future is potentially moreso.

Social media is flooded with inciting posts that seem to pit sections of the general public against one another. There is a mistaken notion out there that the lives of any one group or race of people matter more than another. I most definitely disagree and am offended that anyone would think this. I saw a clever anonymous post on social media earlier today that expressed the idea that there are many shades of human beings. The color of skin is merely exterior decoration. All souls are the same color.

So how do we escape this feeling of doom and feel better when the world around us seems to have gone crazy? I for one have vowed to not let the events of the day, no matter how horrid, dictate my life. I cannot let it beat me down. It seems many people are reacting on raw emotion, letting it get the best of them. Of course, mass murders, police brutality and attacks on law enforcement, terrorism, violent protests, etc. are all horrible. Any loss of life is tragic. But we need to rise above it. We need to act and react in a calm manner and think, “How can we make it better?”

As you know, a few weeks ago, the city of Orlando suffered three extreme tragedies, all in the same week. Each day seemed worse than the next, culminating with the death of an innocent 2-year-old boy. And in that case, there was not even someone to blame. No bad guy. I didn’t even know how to direct my grief. As a grandmother of a 2-year-old, I could not even begin to understand how anyone could survive a loss that profound. But even after that horrible week, the sun did rise. The flowers continued to bloom. The world kept turning. And we, the people, kept plugging away.

That’s what it was like for me. I kept trying to make sense out of a situation that was just senseless.

And then, something unexpected happened.

I attended a concert of 71 children, a church choir visiting from Atlanta, Ga. These kids sang for over an hour, performing an original play that offered a large audience a message of love and of hope. Hope for a future. For these kids, the glass wasn’t empty. It wasn’t even half full. It was overflowing. Their vision for our future was not one of pain and violence, but one of peace and love. Out of the mouths of babes.

And that’s my answer. Focus on the kids. Focus on the ones you love. Hold them close. Support them. Don’t overload yourself with bad news. A tragedy is a horrible thing but learn to walk away from the television broadcasts and social media, which aim to focus solely on the negative. In every tragedy, there are also stories of heroism. Focus on those. Start a campaign of kindness and optimism. Spread good news with upbeat messages rather than commiserating on the bad.

I know, easier said than done. But if we can learn to react this way, we can be the ones who say, “No, I will not succumb to negativity. I will fight for a better world.” As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Terry Alburger is the resident services director at Brittany Pointe Estates, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Upper Gwynedd. Email thoughts to talburger@actslife.org.