This past weekend, my wife and I attended a surprise party for one of her uncles. My wife is Filipino and what that means in regards to parties is that there is enough food to feed about 5,000 people! Seriously, if you want to go to parties where it’s a given that you will take a bag full of food home, then go find some Filipinos to become friends with. You won’t regret it. White people, learn from the Filipinos and Mexicans. Stop having parties that only provide chips, dip, and one plate of tuna sandwiches and some cookies. You should be ashamed of yourself! ha. Sorry, I had to throw that in there. It’s all good. No hurt feelings, right? Just take your party food up to another level, please.
Well, this post is’nt about food or parties, it’s about a young man. While at this party, there was a young guy (we’ll call him Mike), maybe in his late teens, and from the time that we entered the house till we left, he spent most of his time off to the side with his head and eyes buried in a Nintendo DS. Of course I step out and address these kinds of people who try to hide out and avoid being social, but I was probably the only one who acknowledged “mike” (other than his parents). But even when I did, his response was weak and not full of a lot of life or enthusiasm. His hand shake was weak as well.
This encounter confirmed some thoughts I’ve had for quite a while about young people and the affects that technology has on them, particularly young men. This is a generation of young boys who are growing up under the care and teaching of a computer or gaming system, allowing technology to replace their need to be social through the most basic form we know, which is human to human. Technology is keeping our kids glued to a screen and universe that doesn’t require them to be truly social. We call the use of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace as “social media”, but anyone can type thoughts and pretend to be whatever they want online. “Social Media” doesn’t require a lot of work or effort.
Why was “mike’s” handshake so weak and passive? Why was he afraid to talk to anyone at the party and why could he not really look me in the eye as I addressed him and acknowledged him? Kinda threw him off guard, but regardless, this young man did not have the confidence and security that he should have at his age. And his obsession with a computer game in the midst of a room full of people tells us a lot.
I know that some of you may attribute other factors to “mike’s” behavior or lack there of, but this is just one instance. There’s more, lots more. Just go to the mall and watch young people interact with the world around them. They seclude themselves from real world interactions, outside of their circle of friends, but even then you can have a group of them standing together and each one of them has head phones on and no one is talking to the other.
This is the world they’re growing up in and I believe its our job, the adults and mentors out there, to approach the “mikes” around us and help teach them how to interact outside of their cell phone, computer, nintendos, and ipods. Men out there, teach the young people around you how to give a strong hand shake and how to look others in the eye. Women, teach young ladies how to respect themselves and be lady like. Teach them to demand respect from young men, and lets all teach both how to communicate with their eyes, ears, and mouth, not just their fingers.
The thing is that this affects us all. How many of you go to a restaurant with friends and keep your phone in your pocket the whole time? You can’t. Especially with new distractions like Twitter and other tools that addict us to monitoring a feed. We have our heads buried in our “social media” devices and we forget that there’s people around us that are more important than @yourbestfriend or @youbetterupdateyourfeed.
Let’s all be couscious of this as we walk around our little world today. Men, let’s give strong handshakes today and teach a young man to do the same. Today, let’s practice being “social” without the “media”.