|Graphic courtesy Page-a-Day Calendar|
This morning on TV I saw a Prudential commercial on a visual survey they had conducted with a group of adults from across the country.
Utilizing sticky notes of two colors, they asked people to look back at the last 5 years and write significant events in their lives. Yellow was for positive events and blue was for negative events.
The subjects then put the notes on a huge board.
When the researchers looked at the results, they noted about an equal number of positive and negative life events noted.
They then asked the participants to look ahead at the next 5 years and do the same thing, this time speculating on the good things or bad things that would happen in their lives.
And the research was far different.
Overwhelmingly, the post-it notes were positive. In fact, almost unanimously.
It seems that even in a cross-section of people, the vast majority were optimistic about their next five years, choosing to focus on what was going to be good in their lives rather than on negatives.
Now in the commercial, the sponsors's conclusion to the participants was that while it is great for people to think about mostly good things in the future, it would be more practical to also anticipate some negative things to better prepare. Obviously this conclusion is related to the fact that they sell insurance.
Personally I am disappointed by their conclusion. For those of us who work with high schoolers, we can see that one of the hardest aspects of life is convincing them that Life Gets Better.
They are often so worried about so many upcoming stressors or anxiety about the future, that it is comforting to me to see that their results confirm what the majority of educators truly believe. When given free choice, adults choose to believe that there will be far more positives in the future than negatives.
I celebrate the survey. It is gratifying and comforting to know that as we age, just as CS Lewis stated, we fervently embrace and believe that our lives will have far better times and things ahead than what is in our past.
Now we just need to continue, as all good educators do, to work to convince our students, particularly the most fragile and at-risk, that life indeed does get better.