Gen-Y is known for many things, including being entitled, lazy, easily distracted and in need of constant praise. The most prevalent among these stereotypes, however, is that we are obsessed with technology.
Many of us feel lost and naked when our wireless connections fail or we leave our smartphones at home. Sure, there are many positive effects of constant connectivity, but what happens when our constant stream of communication brings horrifying news?
I learned some horrifying news not so long ago. When my morning classes proved to be less than entertaining, I turned to my cell and scrolled through my news feed, like I often do.
I saw post after post about a boy with whom I had gone to school and learned that he died in a plane crash the previous night.
I blinked back some stray tears as I scrolled through more and more depressing posts. I thought there was no way it could be true, but then I saw the news article. He was gone at a young 23 years old.
At first, I sat there, staring into space, as the tears I had concealed made their way down my chin. I couldn’t identify the “right” reaction, but decided I needed to write a little more than a generic status update to say goodbye to my dear friend.
I needed to share how important it is for us, as members of Generation-Y, to ensure our friends are honored after their deaths. When our friends die young, news of their deaths permeates social media, quickly becoming public information.
But soon, the news is lost among the meaningless photos of cats and car parts and obnoxious selfies.
Our generation has forgotten what it's like to truly remember a distant friend who is no longer with us. As the funeral arrangements are made and the family grieves, many of us send brief messages and emails that aim to console the family and then we go on with our days.
Others of us may write public statements that tell favorite memories and while we all mean well, we must all step out from behind our computer screens and try to make a real difference. Let us approach the family sincerely and ask what we can do to help.
Let us cook meals for them and offer to clean their homes as they grieve. Let us offer our precious time and our money rather than sentiments on social media. Let us offer shoulders on which to cry rather than teary-eyed emoticons.
Let us be there for those who have lost what we all take for granted and let us do it with willing hearts and humble attitudes.
Often, when people refer to the "good old days," I scoff and continue on my way.
But, there's something to be said for the way death was handled before we were so caught up with whom can get the most likes on a profile picture or whom can get the most shares on a Facebook post.
When we leave this earth, as we all someday will, our legacies will continue through those whose lives we touched in our brief time here. I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that my friend was a shining example of the good things that our generation can be.
Even though he's gone, I can learn so much from his short, inspiring life. Gen-Y offers so many positive qualities, so let us show everyone who we really are by carrying on the memory of our forgotten friends — and doing it in person.
RIP Levi (02/16/1991 - 07/20/2014)
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr