Initially, this was going to be a rant, I even have it marked as a rant, but with time and reflection a rant becomes something else: a message and a call to action.
To the people of Generation X:
Where are your voices? Those speaking out against the concerns of the present, helping to discern the path from our past, taking the reigns from a dying generation to lead our country and our world into a better place? Will your voices be ready and refined when it is time to speak? Or will you still be sitting on the sidelines waiting for validation, hoping for an invitation to communicate, speak, write, lead and guide the world into the future?
Our voice is timid, shy, weak and veiled behind a mask: a label bestowed by our parents as Generation X. We are viewed as slackers, bums, misfits and losers unsure of our place in the world. Some of us are trying to make a difference, but for the most part, we have accepted and daily live with the reality that we have been passed over in favor of those born after us. We accept less, demand nothing, expect everything, and hope for a miracle in the form of a silver spoon that will never come.
It is time to wake up and accept our birthright as free citizens. It’s going to take hard work. Most importantly, it’s going to take a determined and focused desire to fight our greatest fears: first, that if we succeed, we will become our parents, and second, that if we fail, we won’t matter. Regardless of those fears, it’s time to hear the call and begin to answer the questions that are being asked of us.
Are you searching for truth? Are you looking to the past in order to understand our collective potential? Are you critically thinking about the actions of your present, and the impact they have on the future? Are you lost in haze of despair, unable to see the value and weight of your voice?
Are you willing to work hard? To sacrifice your wants for the needs of others? To develop a steady vision and devotion towards positively impacting our communities and our nation for the greater, and common, good?
Are you asking questions? Are you demanding answers? Are you broadening your horizons? Searching for understanding and meaning, grasping for the knowledge that every action has a natural consequence?
Are you wanting to use technology to build communities or to capitalize on the obsession and addiction for the newest and shiniest gadget? Are you wanting to understand the impact that social technologies have on our lives, the good and the bad, or are you simply doing your duty in creating a virtual world of segregation, based not on your true and authentic identity, but on the ideal version of you: an artificial and universally “liked” avatar?
Are you wanting to understand why you like something, instead of mindlessly pressing a button that informs the world about your likes? Do you force yourself to speak in the modern 140 character “sound bite” or do you long for something with depth, meaning and context?
Are you concerned about whether your voice matters? If your voice will change the course of your life and the lives of others? How do you envision getting people to listen to what you have to say, when the world is full of distractions and noises?
Do you communicate with an over-arching search for the truth? Do you even care about the truth? Or are you willing to forsake the truth for a few bucks and pats on the back from the same men and women that sold the truth in order to pay for their pensions?
We are being handed a world that has been shaped in the image of an idol, using the chisel of lies, statistics, and false promises. We have been forced into a famine of inaction and paralysis, but the time to act is at hand.
It’s time to get ready to lead and undergo the necessary metamorphosis from casual observers to willing participants. To be tempered and cast, forged and created into a generation of leaders and visionaries that are willing to make changes to a broken system. It’s time to balance the lust for real-time information with the understanding that history is more than what happened today, it’s what the events of today mean for the future.
Having a voice matters, but if you only use it to say what others are already saying, without adding your opinion and view, then hope is lost. We need to learn that the message is greater than the tools that forge that message. But as long as we silence our voices, consume what is handed to us, and never speak, then change is not possible.
Where are the voices of my generation? I hope they are out there, being built up and trained, because if they aren’t, I fear for the future.