this i believe (2) (2007)

They say that we need more education. They say that we need to get our priorities straight. But I say, I believe, we need an attitude adjustment.

Every day, we take another breath. We take another step, and we take another stride. But we do this with the wrong approach and look upon these breaths, these steps, and these strides in the wrong manner. People act carelessly today, but more often than not, it’s not because they aren’t thinking. The problem is that they are thinking – that, this is, how they think. Sure; the problem in our generation today might have something to do with the alarming amount of stupidity, but a bigger problem could be our destructive attitude.

The term Generation Y first appeared in an August 1993 magazine, AD Age, to describe the children born between 1980 and 1995. As members of GenY, we’ve taken the world by storm. In a survey of 7,705 college students in the United States, results found that:

  • 97% own a computer
  • 94% own a cell phone
  • 75% have a Facebook account

I seem to always gravitate towards at least a mention of technology because it’s what seems to define us. I feel that technology is the culprit and is very much responsible for our poor attitudes – because fifteen years ago, in the absence of technology, these statistics would have been gibberish. But as our proverbial landscape of lifestyle has changed, so, too, has our behavior. Humanity doesn’t pay attention to what it once used to. Do we still think about consideration and sincerity, for example? I don’t think so, because consideration is, what? I should be happy that you’re finally going to be considerate enough to stop interrupting me and allow me to speak? And it seems that the most sincere gesture we’ve created is a text message containing the message, straight from the heart: “I love you.” And by straight from the heart, of course the whole -from our brain, -to our fingers, -to our phone, -to journeying wireless wires, is implied. Straight from the heart. Anyway, substituting for sincerity is narcissism. I know that if you text “I love you” to someone, and they don’t respond with the same idea, you’re going to ask something like, “Don’t you love me, too?” Naturally – it’s all about you.

And some of you might think I’m exaggerating and that only I could think like this, but that’s a great example of this problem. You think that the little things don’t matter. You think that if one person drops a piece of paper and thinks “whatever, it’s only a piece of paper” that it’s okay. But haven’t you heard that the world isn’t just one person? Don’t you know by now that more than one person will drop a piece of paper? And I’m not encouraging you to go around harvesting all stray sheets of dead trees, but I know why you walk completely past a mess and pay no mind. You think it doesn’t matter. You think it’s strange when I see something misplaced in Target, I’ll pick it up and put it on the shelf. By a contract, it might be somebody else’s job to do this, but since when was it not your job to think about more than yourself? And, yeah, some of you might think I’m just still exaggerating for purposes of this speech, but I’m not the only one who can see through this. People have been conducting research about Generation Y ever since they detected that we had veered from tradition.

If we don’t stop it, GenY is going down in the history books as the “all about me” shift from GenX, thanks to the increased traffic at self-revelatory websites such as YouTube and Facebook, where videos of ourselves can be posted, and pictures of ourselves can be displayed. The generation is characterized by a lack of empathy, lack of earnestness, and lack of authenticity. And all of us contribute to this. But as some of you – though I hope I am wrong – will dismiss this warning and continue to be a contributor, I want this to stop. I don’t want to be labeled as the only generation whose focus was only themselves. Deep down, we can think about more than ourselves. I know we actually care about what others have to say and that we can actually suppress the urge to interrupt until finally, the urge ceases to exist. We can pick up the papers before it’s too late.

This I reallllllllly believe…

(it’s fun to write speeches because you can add extraneous stuff onto the hardcopy, and the audience is none the wiser. except the few instances where you remember you’re supposed to give your teacher that copy)