The Millennials (the generation of people born since the early 1980’s to now) or Generation Y, has been oft labeled the ‘me’ generation [link] as many from this gen (my gen I suppose) is opined as shallow, self-serving and narcissistic. This would be a pretty hard tag to shake as we are the generation of facebook, twitter, instagram and myspace (oh dead, dead myspace).
We are the generation obsessed with ourselves and letting people know how unique those selves are by posting photos about our lives, our duck faces, our family and our food. Without shame, we boast of our double cheeseburger and fries from the local hamburger joint. Without shame, we squeal ‘selfie’ and pucker our lips so everyone can see how scrunched our face can get. We spout status updates about our political leanings as if they are the hard core of truth in the universe. Did I mention we made up new slang for pictures where we are the sole subject?
But it’s not just a problem that we are a ME generation: we are a ME [NOW] generation. All our planking, duck facing, and twerking is about here and now and capturing some brief moment of exhilaration. What if we looked at our facebook profile and twitter feed from the perspective of our unborn children: what kind of legacy are we leaving in our wake of youthful, narcissistic exuberance?
This generation, while shallow and self-interested, also has a taste for outrage. KONY2012, Trayvon Martin, Marriage Equality… we like getting upset about stuff, much of it not really pertaining to us, but upset and outraged nonetheless. We take to social media and voice our opinions (because we think they are so very important). And opinions are important… when action is followed by them. Let’s think about problems that aren’t small, fractional problems. Let’s for a minute forget about that stuff, and look at something that is a BIG problem: human trafficking.
According to the UN Global Compact initiative to fight human trafficking (mouthful. let’s call it UN GIFT.) [link], in 2007 there were an estimated 2.5 million people in forced labor. 2.5 MILLION. 1.2 Million of those trafficked are children. Where is our global outrage about this? Why isn’t this on CNN for 3-4 weeks in a row as a major talking point? It is sad that Trayvon Martin was killed and my prayers are with his family, but 1.2 MILLION children are being forced into labor and sex slavery across the globe and we just pretend like it’s not happening? Is this problem just so large that we can’t handle it?
[other stats on trafficking – link]
The Millennial generation is the ME generation but we are also seen as a social action generation. Sometimes this outrage that we are feeling does focus into action. We raise money, awareness, and form organizations to combat these things.
My lesson isn’t ‘less talking’, it’s this: MORE TALKING, MORE ACTION. Lazy muscles atrophy. Words are easy and lazy, but the more those are focused into action, the more power those words become and the more action is generated from them. This generation is more connected than any other generation ever. Geography, age, education, and income don’t mean anything when it comes to the internet and social media; and being outraged into movement by something can happen faster and deeper than ever.
If you are looking for an immediate step because of your outrage check out Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) [link]. Our church does work with them in Moldova, and they are focused strongly on creating opportunities for children to stay safe and away from traffickers.
Also, International Justice Mission (IJM) [link] is another great organization trying to find justice for people globally.
Human trafficking isn’t the only problem in the world. Abject poverty is still a problem throughout the globe. Charity Water is another great organization doing good in the world to bring fresh, clean water wells to people. [link] Also, if you live locally in San Antonio, our church (ww.sacitychurch.com) partners with other organizations globally and locally to help others in need. Check out their social action facebook page for more information [link].
Our generation can give money, give our time, give our hands and give our voices to causes that will be more than just temporary outrage and exuberance. We can be a source of permanent change on our terms for a legacy far greater than a handful of selfies.