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A Genertion of Passivity This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

"Me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change.”
By John Mayer

When I was little I was glued to the T.V. Everyday I sat at home and gazed at anything and everything: cartoons, the Discovery channel, MTV, and the news. People dying. Global warming. Kids drinking. These were some of the dreadful things I witnessed; however, I perceived reality as entertainment. I told my mom that I was going to be super-woman and solve every problem in the world. Not only did I end up not saving the world, I did absolutely nothing to help it. Similarly, my generation remains inert. Lying to ourselves and believing that we have no control over our lives, we prolong our action. Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world;” pitifully, my generation does the opposite: It embraces passivity.

Our need to conform to society is a passport to our passivity. With a generation full of stereotypes and clichés we feel we must follow, the craving to create positive change is diminished. From bleached blonde hair to smoking a joint, we make the choice to “fit in” instead of being proactive. We are “waiting on the world to change”. Humanity has little faith that my generation could break society’s boundaries and transform our passivity into action. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” Forget revolution, my generation probably does not even know what that word means. We just do whatever we need to “fit in” and “be cool” and that’s all we care about. This desire to become clones of each other gets us nowhere; therefore, we remain passive.

Not only can we not think on our own, but also we get everything we want. Spoiled and pampered, we are oblivious to the chaos happening around us. Due to unnecessary luxuries, my generation is self-absorbed. We do nothing. Given everything we demand, we remain inert. Always wanting, always begging, always whining – we have no concern for anyone but ourselves. A generation full of egocentricity forces us to sit on our butts and think solely of ourselves. Thomas Brown, a teacher at University of South Carolina says, “Will the most self-centered, self-absorbed, self-important and just plain selfish generation in history ever stop whining and just grow up?” The answer is no. My generation- that whines when we do not have our own cell phone, that cries when we receive no allowance, or that bellyaches about not getting a new car- encompasses passivity with our self-absorption. We are still “waiting on the world to change.”

Along with our egocentricity, my generation’s laziness sparks our passivity. Today teen’s hobbies are anything but proactive. Playing Nintendo, watching television, surfing on the net – my generation is addicted to everything but action. With such close-minded interests, how can we be proactive? This lethargic generation is busy with pointless interests that we hardly notice any outside conflict. Jules Renard, a French author, once said, “Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. Yet it seems as if we are always resting. Not active but stagnant. Not mending but breaking. Not heeding but disregarding. My generation is so lazy that all we care about is new friend requests on Myspace. We’re not tired any longer, we’re just plain lazy.

Besides our laziness, my generation is preoccupied defying, instead of changing, the world. defines defiance as, “a daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.” This could be drinking, doing drugs, or any number of “fun” things. By doing this so-called fun, my generation not only numbs themselves to the world’s problems, but also causes many. We are passive to the consequences that our disrespect might have on other people. Trying to escape from rules and our parents’ commands, we assume we are being adult when our action is actually forcing us into passivity. My generation, as John Mayer would say it, is “misunderstood”. Feeling that we can do nothing to help, we defy - the world, our parents, anything and everything. We justify our actions by saying “we don’t have the means to rise above and beat it [passivity].” Action in our eyes is disobedience; however, this defiance is the basis of our passivity.

No matter how much we listen to John Mayer sing, no matter how much we hear Ghandi’s words, at the end of the day we must make the change. Change laziness, change selfishness, or just change anything at all. If we continue numbing ourselves to the world, nothing will change. Hopefully in the future we will take action; however, for now my generation clings to passivity.

“And we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change”

Join the Discussion

This article has 32 comments. Post your own now!

TheShakespeareSpeaker said...
today at 12:14 pm
Painful to read, but it is very true. Keep writing!
TheShakespeareSpeaker said...
today at 12:14 pm
Painful to read, but it is very true. Keep writing!
Nattapon said...
Jul. 26, 2015 at 11:49 am
I'm even more afraid of the next generation to come. In the future, technology will be so much more advanced and that will make it so much easier for kids in the future to be passive. Parenting will be so much harder too...
Megan said...
Jul. 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm
I loved this it hit me like been smacked in the face I could really feel the passion whilst reading this
mylifeasapincushion said...
Jul. 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm
I don't know... I just can't help but find my self disagreeing. Just from the people on this website I have seen the voices of our generation and they are far from passive.
PleasedToMeetYouThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm
I'm SO glad to read something like this!  You are spot on!  "Action in our eyes is disobedience; however, this defiance is the basis of our passivity."  Brilliant, just brilliant.
BuddingAuthor said...
Aug. 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm
Finally, someone who spoke up about the falling standards of normal in this time! I am so glad, cause i though my friends and I were alone! I try to do what I can, and I told my best friend to do what is her.
LegendKeeperThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Whoa! I'm not the only teen who thinks this way!!! Awesomeness!!!!!!!! (Me, in my house, thinking celebratory music, with maybe the epilouge version of 'do you hear the people sing'.)  
YriaValiente said...
Aug. 11, 2013 at 3:33 am
I really agree with you. I feel as if I can't fit in with others for this reason, I worry too much about how this world will end up in the hands of my messed up generation. I am aware that there will always be exceptions to this, which I am really thankful for. Seriously, is it really too much to ask why the students/young adult around me implement change in the world now rather than wait for it? This frustrates me so much that I want to truely start a revolution of my own in which I find a ... (more »)
readlovewrite said...
Jul. 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm
I suppose I've already proven you right just by reading this ( as teens now have such passive and unproductive hobbies as surfing the web when we could definitely be doing something more productive things right now) but there are exceptions amongst our generation. I think it would be great if you included more about the exceptions, to help make an even more proactive piece! Good writing!
bookmouse said...
Jul. 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm
As has already been said, there are exceptions -- but not enough! Our generation needs to know that helping doesn't mean being superman, it can be easy and simple: volunteer. Step 1: use Google or ask friends to find a local soup kitchen or animal shelter or other charity Step 2:  find out when they need help Step 3: Get out there and do!
Laugh-it-Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm
I have been waiting for this article for a while, why I'd dint write it myself.... I don't know. Brilliant job, 5/5 stars. I can't even tell you all the petty drama and pointless things I witness everyday. It's disgusting. And the sad part is that I participate. But starting this year, I have begun to distance myself from these things, and I thank you for getting other people to to the same. We are indeed, " waiting for the world to change"
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm
I love this! Very eloquent and well-put, and I completely agree.
therealshawn said...
Feb. 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm
This article powerfully stated what I've been struggling for years to express. Yes (as some of the other comments have stated) there are some youth that take initiative, but they are the exception and not the rule. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for seeing our generation as we are, and for wanting us to be better.
ivyj13 said...
Sept. 2, 2008 at 11:15 pm
This article shocked me. To say our generation does not take action or does not have the will to achive is a lie. It is in fact true that right now, teenagers can't do much. But at this stage in our lives we are growing, forming opinions, beliefs, and ideas of how the world should be. That is how action begins: with an idea. And the wonderful authors on are proving that our generation holds promise. Perhaps Bree V. of Mesa, Arizona, you are surrounding yourself with people who are no... (more »)
TwilighterTreehugger said...
Aug. 31, 2008 at 8:02 pm
I think this was very well written! 5 stars!! But, like my peers have mentioned, this isn't always true... But we need to think- what MORE can we do? How can we spread our ideas? I don't like the fact that you portray us as dipsticks, because I believe teens are high intellectuals, and Teen Ink has surely proven that! But the quotes and definitions made this an outstanding piece!
"Talkin' bout my gen-eration!"
RMD said...
Aug. 29, 2008 at 11:35 am
I appreciate the effort. But I disagree with the message. Many of my peers are actively involved in the community. Several of my friends volunteer at local hospitals. I myself volunteer at the Detroit Institue of Art in addition to preparing sandwiches for various shelters. One of my friends plans to teach English to rural Chinese children. My sister voluntarily cleaned parks and sung at homes for the elderly until she began college. I also adopted veganism out of concern for animal right... (more »)
crl311 said...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 2:53 am
This is a typical stereotype of our generation. Not everyone is this way. I for one have been striving to be original. I think our generation can make a change.
towriteistoempower said...
Aug. 21, 2008 at 7:33 pm
Throughout the piece, you refer to your subject as, "my generation". Are you not a part of that? Isn't this a mildly hypocritical acticle? May I ask what YOU are doing to prevent this?

However, I must say that the paragraph on how our generation defies everything is so true. But other than that, I find this to be slightly annoying. Well-written maybe, but it's not as powerful of an article as that of which I would deem worthy of Teen Ink Magazine Edition. (Whoa, that ju... (more »)
her said...
Aug. 21, 2008 at 12:01 am
was this written for the 11th grade Dobson "my generation" essay? although i don't agree one hundred percent, it's really well written. nice job.
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