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A Message to Society
Ever since I was born, I’ve been told what to do. I did as I was told and never asked questions, well, okay, my parents would argue that. The point is I accepted life as I went through it and never thought about the world around me. It wasn’t until I was about 13 years old when I truly started to see things as they were. I began to see that the American culture is like a disease; an infection of lust, abuse, molestation, rape, violence, pornography, and suicide. Forty years ago, a counter-cultural revolution began. Prayer was banned from schools, pornography was legalized,and a sexual revolution began. What was once considered pornography in the 60’s is now on every magazine rack of every checkout isle in every grocery store in the nation. Everyday teenagers walk out of their homes to compare themselves to these images.
In the United States more than 40% of teens who admitted drinking said they drink when they’re upset; 25% said they drink when they get bored; and 25% said they drink to “get high” or so far under the influence it blocks out reality. Eight young people involved in alcohol related crashes die every single day. Those eight teenagers may have died because another teen was drinking irresponsibly and chose to get behind the wheel when they were either upset, bored or wanting an adrenaline rush. How messed up is our culture? In the next 2 hours 960 teens will inflict self-injury, 178 teenagers will be abused or neglected, 120 will run away from home, 480 will get high on prescription drugs, 97 teenage girls will be raped and 1 teenager will be shot to death. “Can the mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry out? Could a doctor sit in comfort and let his patient die? Can the fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease, with the world around you damned?” –Leonard Ravenhill.
The future of this nation is undetermined but what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like 10 years from now a nuclear war could break out or a bomb could go off outside the capital building. It’s not like the media could destroy all moral values of American teenagers because they compare themselves to Victoria Secret models covered with makeup and screened with PhotoShop. Maybe none of that will happen. But what if it did? We could have prevented it. The future of this nation depends on capturing the heart of the current generation. All of us need to be reached and no single person can do that by his or herself.
The teen generation of today is the largest that it has ever been. In the next 5-7 years, whatever we do will lay the course for the next 50 years of American history. That means it will take every student, parent and leader in America to change a generation. In the 60’s, it took one generation to change course, to change culture, to impact the future generations of America. Imagine what America would be like if one generation took a radical stand for peace, love and righteousness by rejecting the social norms and values of today. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Our children will carry on what we have started. We can establish policies and precedent. But they will assume control of our cities, states and nations. And the fate of humanity is in their hands. Therefore, it would do us well to pay them attention.”
The world is full of opportunities and when I woke up this morning, I saw them. I opened my eyes to see a world of “what if” questions. I saw a world full of “ifs.”The real question is what I’ll do with them? There’s more to life than self-gratification and being perfect as advertised on every television and billboard in America. It is OUR choice whether or not to follow them. It’s OUR choice to take part, or take apart. But if you stand by then who will stand up? Thus we’ve come to the bystander effect.
What is the bystander effect? The bystander effect refers to the social event in which the more people present; the less likely they are to help a person in distress. In other words, when someone witnesses something happen to another person and they need help their first thought is, “well someone else will take care of it; I don’t need to get in the way.” Is this what goes through everyone’s mind when they drive past the homeless man on the street corner? Well I think it’s time to send society a message about faith & believing. This passion pushes me to do things even though I don't want to. And for the first time in a long time, it feels right. I feel free. Free to choose between right and wrong. Free to do the right thing because I want to. By believing, anything can happen.
My life turned around when I started to believe that the challenges I face everyday prepare me to be a part of something bigger. It’s something that raises the bar for ALL of us. Even by writing this, I’m raising up a fire in all who read this and feel inspired to do something to make a difference. But this piece of writing can't change the world. Only the person reading it can. After all, what’s the point of all this if you aren’t going to let it change you? At some point, you’re going to have to ask yourself what you want your life to be about.
Say you don’t want to live inside the walls of society’s trends. How could you possibly do something big enough to change the world? First, participate in something you love to do and do it for a greater cause. If you play a sport, have your team try and raise money to give to a charity organization. If you’re part of a newspaper club, write an article to raise awareness of drug abuse during red ribbon week or for homelessness in your community. If you can’t do any of those or have run out of ideas, try visiting these websites for more ideas; The Rebelution (www.therebelution.com) or Teens of America (www.teensofamerica.net)
Trust me, not all of these suggestions are easy. They take time and effort. But life won’t always go as planned and you just have to push on through. We can only walk so far in the wrong direction before realizing we need to turn around. And when we do, we should all have a little faith and walk with our heads held high because we believe what we’re doing will have a positive impact on someone else. I know I’ll worry, I’ll cry, I’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions and I’ll spend every minute of my high school years trying to make the world better. Together we can make a better world. Conflict is resolved by shaking hands. Relationships are mended by healing hearts and binds are broken by believing.
Join me in making a difference. Don’t settle for anything less than your best. Try hard and never give up because I’ll be here going through the same thing. It’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s about “us” and together we can change the world. What are we living for in this world of possibilities?
And together, what are we going to do with them?