One of the benefits of the change from analogue to digital technology is the improvement in mass communication. Unfortunately, with this change we have had to deal with fake news and during the first quarter of 2019 Facebook removed 2.19 billion fake accounts. But as fast as Facebook removes fake accounts more appear. They recently announced that five per cent of all accounts are fake, an increase from the previous estimate of 3pc.
Another issue for me is the fact we are bombarded daily with bad news. Every day we receive a dose of news that leaves many of us worried and frightened. Very little of the news is good news and it is all too easy to fall into the trap that all around us there is danger and disasters.
I was lucky enough recently to come across some good news which was all about the number 143. This number had significance for Fred Rogers who fronted a US children’s television series called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001). The show featured his kind, neighbourly persona which went down well with the children. He would end each programme by telling his viewers, “There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I love you.”
So back to the number 143. The first figure represents the single letter in “I,” the second the four letters in “love,” and the third the three letters in “you.” Rogers came from Pennsylvania and the state has now launched 1-4-3-day, May 23 which is the 143rd day of the year, as an annual day of kindness.
Residents are encouraged to “embrace the spirit of the kindest by doing something kind for their neighbours. Within 24 hours of the launch of the 1-4-3 Day website, 16,397 social media posts were recorded.
Among others, acts of kindness detailed online included dog wardens using their lunch hour to walk and play with shelter animals, elementary school students raising money for a classmate in need of a wheelchair, and individuals volunteering at a local women’s shelter.
A college student started an initiative with his mother targeting those looking for new ways to connect with their neighbours. They provided an online “kindness generator” with seemingly endless ideas: Sweep a neighbour’s walkway, for example, or donate a book to the library, volunteer at a nursing home, buy treats for a neighbour’s dog, cook breakfast for a loved one or donate
clothes to a charity shop.
Carrie Fischer Lepore, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of marketing, tourism and film, said that the statewide day of kindness aims to be an antidote to “all the negativity that we surround ourselves with,” and, instead, focus for a day on kindness, gratitude and love for our neighbours.”
I hope like me your faith in human kind is boosted by this story. Behind all the bad news we are exposed to each day there are some stories that not only bring a smile to your face but lift your spirits. Hopefully you will remember the number 143 and it will inspire you to do an act of kindness every day of the year.