Sometimes the problems of the world seem too big to tackle.
Poverty. Thirst. Hunger. Child Soldiers. Maternal Death Rates. Environmental Destruction. Bullying. HIV/AIDS. World Peace.
It’s a daunting list.
Sometimes it’s easier – in the short run – to turn away. To say it’s too big. To take the cynic’s way out.
The cynic says no.
Today on the Invisible Children blog, I saw this quote from Stephen Colbert:
Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. Yes is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.
And the only point I would argue is this: yes is for more than young people.
Yes is for old people. Yes is for middle-aged people. Yes is for children. Yes is for straight people. Yes is for gay people. Yes is for Christian, Muslim, Hindi, Jewish, Buddhist, and atheist people. Yes is for people of every ethnicity, every colour, every heritage, every continent.
Yes is for me. Yes is for you.
YES is how we need to answer the call if we are to have any hope of solving the world’s problems in favour of life.
YES is how we need to answer the call if we are to have any hope at all.
I see young people answering this call every day.
They are not the beat generation nor the hippies, not the ME generation, nor Gen X. They are not Gen Y, and calling them the Connected Generation doesn’t nearly cover it. Yes, the young people coming of age right now are the kids of technology. They are accustomed to the 24-hour news cycle, and they can’t imagine leaving the house without a cell phone, without being connected.
But their connection is bigger than technology.
Their connection lives in their hearts.
I see young people who care about the world, who are giving voice to issues they witness, and who are doing something about it. I have written here about this before. I know I may be a broken record on this topic.
I don’t apologise for that.
As long as the news cycle is full of negative attention and stories, I will seek to counter it with positive notice of the awesome things I see, of the wonder I witness, of the tenderness people display to one another.
On that note, two things to share.
This song and video by Jennette McCreedy were the inspiration for the post title. We are looking at Generation Love, not a doubt in my mind.
When I first heard of Toms giving away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased, I was stunned. This is revolutionary stuff.
Other young people are building on this, expanding it. Sean Carasso was in Africa accompanying a Toms shoe drop when he discovered the child soldiers who inspired Falling Whistles.
Photojournalist Talia Frenkel is interpreting the buy-one-give-one idea for a cause close to her heart. In response to the many issues around family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV/AIDS in Africa, she started L. Watch the video and visit the Love Begins with L. website to learn more.
Generation Love indeed.