When I was in school, writing assignments were a breeze for me. Our family religiously watched the nightly news, and I heard Walter Cronkite’s articulate voice in my head whenever I put pen to paper. Occasionally I will hear an odd phrase come out of my mouth or appear in my e-mails. Where did that come from? I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can track the wording back to its source. I am amazed how easily these phrases slip into my life without any conscious effort on my part.
I am aware of a similar process taking place in my attitudes toward life. For example, while reading books by Alexander McCall Smith recently I have found myself with a smile that starts at my toes and goes all the way up. When I watch television, I now make an effort to pay attention to the feelings I have during and after each program. NCIS usually leaves me feeling upbeat, probably because of the interactions of the main characters. Lost seems to stimulate my curiosity toward life. Recently, entertainment news programs have left me with a judging attitude. What amazes me is that I have spent a lifetime being more or less unaware of how television and books form my attitudes while I passively sit in my chair.