Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

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 42 comments. Post your own now!

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.
taytay4eva said...
Aug. 20, 2008 at 7:12 pm
your passage was good and inspirational
Gazer of Life said...
Aug. 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm
I agree that this generation is lazy, but that is not the whole case. Just like every school or country, there are people that do nothing and others that do something. We need to remember that there are teens and chidren that get up to do things to make a change in our environments. (Scouts are a prime example) However, we all must get up and do something. You have stated the issue. Now, we need to stop saying unkind things about ourselves about how inadequate we are and get up and change ... (more »)
toxic.monkey said...
Aug. 20, 2008 at 2:30 pm
there are kids/teens who aren't like this. you talk about how people worry about not getting a car or an allowance, but there are kids who can't dream of it. kids who have to work instead of going to school; kids who made your damn shoes! but there definately are tons of people who don't do anything. sometimes you feel like saying "stop whining, you pathetic moron!". thanks for speaking your opinion, it made me think:)
**Bro-he** said...
Aug. 19, 2008 at 7:42 pm
I agree with this, but I dont agree with the terribal picture you just painted for us. Not EVERYONE is like this, beleive it or not, there are good people out there in high just have to look past the big stereotype of everyone in High school, because the lazy, self-absorbed population make such a big impact. You might be able to recongnize these people if I gave away their nickname... rejects and nerds.
stephanie1 said...
Aug. 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm
I just read this article( a genertion of passivity) online, and I wanted to thank the author. The article demonstrates and proves that our generation is extrememly self-absorbed. What's even more funny- many teens say they are not like this, but continue to spend half their time either on myspace or doing insignificant things, such as playing video games and talking on the phone. I admit that I, am indeed lazy, and while I know our generation is lazy and egoistical, I continue to fall into the h... (more »)
***Therion*** said...
Aug. 14, 2008 at 11:56 am
I've been trying to persuade my friends to acton for years, but every attempt has just been ignored. Your commentary is the first i've heard anyone else talk our generations blatant passiveness. Maybe there is hope for the future.
Hannahdons said...
Aug. 13, 2008 at 2:49 am
I agree with this completely.
MoyruhJo said...
Aug. 11, 2008 at 3:52 am
That was amazing; it truly gave me a wake up call about how deep of a grave we are digging ourselves. We are passive, and yet all anyone can talk about these days is change--so we're all a bunch of lazy hypocrites.
In all irony, I'm involved with and support various organizations,(Invisible Children, TWLOHA, (RED), etc.) because I want to change how this generation is viewed; to prove that there is some compassion in our hearts. However, whenever I try to get people to join me, I just get... (more »)
MikaChavanelle said...
Aug. 10, 2008 at 2:55 am
This was a powerful piece. But sadly, things like this have been said before and it didn't really do much. You can promote change as much as possible, but really, not much is going to change until someone actually removes their butt from their chair and starts something.
kaystergirl said...
Aug. 7, 2008 at 2:36 pm
i'll say it, that is probably the most powerful, and eye-awaking article i've ever read. and whats so overwhelming to me is everything that was writen was true.
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback