A lot has been going on in the news recently. A lot has been going on in the news since we were born, that’s just the nature of growing up when the internet was growing up. If you’re like me, you got a cell phone far before you needed one. About half of my friends had cell phones and the other half didn’t and that was the only real difference between us and it didn’t affect us even slightly. I have never known a world without internet. I have never known a time where I couldn’t look something up. I have never wondered for anything.
That’s the problem with being our age: we’re only taught to know, never to wonder. There was a time in the world when if you didn’t know something, it just meant you didn’t know something. Now, if you don’t know something, you can look it up in an instant, and not only get an answer for it, but find out how any person feels about it. We get our information instantly, and because of that, we’ve been taught to react to everything instantly.
That’s our problem.
This week, Robin Williams died, and Michael Brown was killed, and thousands of other tragedies struck America and the world in general. There is not a single one of us, millennials, that is, that does not know that all of these things happened this week. There are very few people, though, that actually know what happened. The ins and outs of the situations, the facts about them, and the unemotional parts of the story that we’re no longer allowed to know. The subjects of mental health, civil rights, and citizen’s rights have all been blasted on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and BuzzFeed and Instagram and everywhere in between. There is not a single website I can go to that does not instantly give me a million different opinions about one of these tragedies, no matter how educated or valued the person commenting is.
This is not to say that we, as millennials, do not have a right to comment on the world around us and the things that we deem important to us. But, this does mean, that we need to educate ourselves. We need to know the facts. We need to avoid passing judgement on those who hold an opposing view from our own.
We need to put our phones down.
I have no desire to comment on my beliefs regarding any of these incredibly important issues–and that is what these are. These are important issues that deserve their time in the spotlight without the immediacy of a retweet or a like or a reblog. These are the issues that everyone is actually talking about all the time, if we bothered to look up at our phones and engage in conversation.
I am horribly guilty of this too–I rarely am without my phone, and when I am, I am anxious. I do not expect anyone’s behavior to change because of some blog post a 22-year old posted on a blog that is neither news or noteworthy, but maybe I need to tell myself this.
Older generations take it upon themselves to fault us for our work ethics and our attitudes and our communication. Maybe instead of complaining about that using the technology we cling to so dearly, we could talk to them, we could learn from them, we could be the one to change their minds.
Your opinion is important, but it is in no way more important than anyone else’s. We need to learn our facts, we need to react rationally, and we need to talk, I mean really talk to the people around us. They have stories, they have opinions, and I hope to god they are different than yours and mine.