A – APPEARING, One needs to see the fear for what it really is – a thought or a collection of thoughts about the still-to-happen-future that make an individual feel a certain way

It’s easy to visualize the future we all hope to enjoy – whether this is in retirement, or even a week from now. When we think about such future events, we use our imagination to form these events. These expectations are created from previous experiences and images we have seen throughout our years of living.

For example, some imagine a sunny retirement living on the beach of an island. This sounds like a great way to live, but why would we propose this future when most lead a normal life away from the beach? Different media, including movies and television, teach us that in order to fulfill a “good enough” retirement, we must live a “perfect” life on the beach. This is just one of the many examples where message creators persuade its audience to envision the world in a certain way.

Our past experiences and the various information we take in from media don’t always result in a positive outlook on the future. In order to grab our attention, some media outlets sensationalize stories in a negative tone, making them more controversial and therefore, more talked about. Perhaps you have seen and heard stories of this venue. The danger lies in the empowerment of the news media to provide balanced news at all times. The media is one of the largest message creators in the world as it is easy to believe that the way they tell stories and their opinions are the only ways to think.

While mass media outlets reach thousands of individuals in a given moment of time, human behavior can be similar to the same impact of reality when an individual “colors” their stories with perceptions and attitudes.

As community members, we must develop the same sense to interpret facts on our own accord. Just because someone says something that is an opinion cloaked in misinterpretations, that doesn’t necessarily make it true – even if they belong to the same socioeconomic group as us. What this person says or thinks may APPEAR to be common consensus because they are a vested stakeholder. However, if we develop the skill to think, listen and evaluate for ourselves, we can rely on interpreting situations as they most make sense according to facts, our past experiences and current mind state.

The reason that FEAR is such a strong human emotion is that we are often afraid of what is to come in the future. Since we don’t know exactly how things will play out, we resort to forming images of certain events – making this our best guess for future events. In other words, we use our imagination to create a future that APPEARS to be real in our head.

Rockford may APPEAR to be in a dismal state because of our FEAR of its future. As residents of this city, we have nothing to be afraid of. Rockford is transforming to be a community that provides for its many residents while creating a bright future for all.

The City of Rockford has developed a questionable image through national media outlets. It can be easy to assess that change, including housing, crime and economic development, is not a part of the status quo. Since Rockford APPEARS this way, it is easy to FEAR that it will be this way in the future too. The thing with FEAR, however, is that it’s simply what we formulate in our mind – meaning it’s not absolutely going to happen in the future.

In order to move forward with developing Rockford, we must move past any previous negative thoughts or feelings about the community around us. We must believe in the fact that there are people working hard to revitalize Rockford and turn it into a place that is friendly and safe for any person to live, work and start a family.