Helping Hands or Selfie Stick
By Jim Kuiken
I see posts everywhere about how this current generation is self-centered, narcissistic, and only care about themselves. The “me” generation.
Do you think that’s true? It certainly gets a lot more attention than it did in the past, due to the instant news cycle, social media, and other high-speed information sharing technologies that we have today. But it also appears that each generation seems to say that about the one(s) that follow them.
I remember hearing that when I was growing up, and now I’m hearing it from my generation (and a couple of generations that follow mine) about the current young generation. Did we “peak” at the “Greatest Generation” (WWII) and decline steadily since then – or were generations before then, and after then “Great” as well?
The marker for me is whether people are all about themselves, or are about helping others. You hear stories like the woman who was trapped in a burning car at a gas station in July of this year, while "There was like six bystanders just videotaping like oh man she needs to get some help."
Sick, right? Standing by a woman in a burning car, just video-recording it on their cell phones. What the heck is wrong with this generation? Nothing like this ever happened when we were the younger generation…
Any of you old-timers ever hear of Kitty Genovese? She was the young lady in an apartment complex in New York who died in 1964 after being repeatedly stabbed, over an extended period of time, while neighbors heard the attack and supposedly did nothing. Although some accounts of the incident were later debunked, it became the basis of a significant psychological study about not stepping up and becoming involved – and was even named the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome".
What would you do if something like this happened, and you were there? Most everyone likes to think they would step in, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Don’t get me wrong…it does happen.
After Kitty was attacked in 1964 and lay dying, a neighbor did come out and hold her in her arms – even though she had no way to know the attacker had already fled, while others called the police.
In the case of this younger generation standing by and filming…a young man did rush past the others, break open the window of the burning car (risking himself in the flames, and cutting his arms in the process), and pulled the lady to safety.
So although the culture changes over time (usually to the disapproval of the previous generation, and to the delight of the current one), there are still those who reach out to help others. Many of these folks become the quiet professionals – firefighters, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, military servicemembers… Others are just those caring and sometimes selfless individuals who see someone in need, and just step up.
The odds of this happening when you are the one in the spotlight greatly improves if you think and talk about it before-hand. You can’t run through every possible scenario in your head, but you can think about what you’d do if confronted by various types of situations. Even if you aren’t able to do something yourself, you can certainly call someone who can! Decide now, so you won’t be caught flat-footed later.
“Courage knows no gender. Courage knows no race. Courage comes from within, from a deeply ingrained sense of duty, from service to something bigger than just yourself...from love.”
What will you do when your time comes? Reach out with a helping hand, or reach for your selfie stick?
Image Copyright: l23RF Stock Photo