Youth and Apathy

Dear Readers,

Thank you for enduring my ridiculous lack of commitment. I could regale you with a list of my classes, followed by a full detailing of my extracurriculars and campus jobs, but I’m sure you really wouldn’t care to hear my excuses. Thus, we begin.
We had a really interesting chapel speaker on Monday, who, among other things, caused me to wonder about a common recurring theme I’ve only recently noticed among myself and my peers. Having visited three countries in the last six months, I remember hearing about things like the Nicaraguan revolution against their cruel dictatorships, or in Panama, the Kuna taking back their lands both diplomatically and by force. Or, even more recently, the Costa Rican students involved in city programs.
I’m not saying that here, in the United States, we are all lazy and uncaring; just that we are very apathetic.
Did anyone notice how none of the youth really cared about politics until the presidential elections last year? I heard nothing of state, provincial, or even of city elections all last fall. Granted, I was here in Michigan, but still–shouldn’t there have been some sort of talk? After all, the president can only do so much for the states that they can’t do for themselves.
It is the motivated who are actually doing something, obviously. What is it, though, that almost all of the people who care are abroad in other countries? Those who stay in this land to serve fellow countrymen are few and far between. The youth of this nation are apathetic.
When I went on my semester abroad, I became so relaxed and laid back. I absolutely loved spending time with people and talking to them face to face. I made sure to listen carefully and show others my true interest in what they had to say. Without cellphone, without car, without instant messaging, I discovered one of the greatest commandments: Love God, Love People. It made sense.
Coming back, I had to get myself motivated to a new type of busy. I came back to my computer with instant everything, my cellphone, and my dad’s car. I had to try to adjust to people (for some odd reason) wanting to know everything about me, all the time, as soon as possible. The youth of this nation ARE busy. But we are busy with things. I’ll be having a conversation with another student, when all of a sudden there will be a buzzing sound and the student will reach in his pocket, pull out some sort of communication device and–while texting–tell me, “Go ahead, I’m still listening.” I find this extremely rude. Why have conversations with fourteen different invisible people and ignore the one person physically standing in front of you? Unfortunately, this happens all the time now. What became of common courtesy? When people talk to me, I try to look them in the eye when possible.
Perhaps it is because of our “conveniences” that we no longer care about current events. In a culture where everything is at our disposal–technology, services, information–we have everything, and nothing at all. How many of us actually take the time to Google all the information in the world? How many of us own every prototype of technology available and still get out to see the sun? How many of us take advantage of all the services available in our state in one fell swoop? Most likely? Few to none of us. The few ridiculously rich who can afford all the technology will probably prefer to learn about the “outside” world from the “comfort” of technology. These few will not have a definite “need” (at least in their own minds) to move beyond the shadow of comfort to experience because one can read others’ experiences instead.
What motivates nowadays? Well, given the political/economical state of things, I would say that politics and economy are very motivating. At least, these are the subjects upon which every person has his own opinion. Why is this? Because we hear the most about politics and economy on the evening news. More, that we can find numerous websites, blogs, and columns with the “hottest” topics. Topics are only “hot” based on who says they’re hot.
The youth of my country are apathetic. I try not to be, but it’s an infectious disease, the type that is mind-numbing and pulpit-accepting. Of course, it depends who is numbing the mind, and who is standing at the pulpit. If it takes too much work to think, we tend to give up that chore–Remember the Power of Choice!!
For now, good night and a warning: Think critically about what you hear, and become motivated!!

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