I made an inspiring discovery this morning by engaging in an activity that is rare for me; I checked my Facebook page. As Facebook participants go, I must be amongst the poorest representatives, with a list of Friends that is so small it would probably be easier to call each one individually rather than engage them “socially” via Facebook. And where most Facebook members measure their posts and involvement on an hourly basis, I have to force myself to remember to log on once a week, lest I miss an occasional message from a Friend, and appear rude.
Among my list of Friends are my three teenage sons. I consider this both a blessing and a curse, and I’m convinced that the only reason I’m still Friends with them is because they forgot that they once accepted me in a weak moment some years ago during their respective days of innocence. I would be an easy Facebook Friend to forget, since I’m rarely on it, and never choose to comment on or “Like” any of their postings. It’s better that way.
Invariably, when I do log on and see a week’s worth of postings, I scan them with great circumspection and hesitancy. While I’m naturally curious, I’m also guarded at the prospect of having this partial access to the not-so-hidden world of my teenage sons. If I read their postings at all, I find that doing so with one eye closed is helpful, since I’m thus already halfway poised for a full-blown facial wincing in the event that I witness the inevitable references to vulgarities and excessive behaviors that are a fixture within youth culture.
Teen Facebook Friends – With Risks Come Rewards
This morning, while conducting my semi weekly one-eyed perusal of my Facebook page, the risk of cynicism and being offended gave way to the reality of inspiration. Upon connecting to Facebook I was immediately drawn to this fresh posting by Colin, my 19-year-old son:
- Incredibly powerful and inspirational film. Not the first time I’ve heard of Kony and his crimes against humanity, but the first time I’ve heard of such a widespread movement to stop him. It’s hard to think that this is only one of many atrocities occurring across the globe, but inspiring to know that people are doing something about it right now. The world would be a different place if people saw this every time they turned on the TV.
Listed below Colin’s written comment was a link to the film “Kony 2012” produced by an organization called Invisible Children. The film is this organization’s primary media effort in a campaign to bring Joseph Kony to international justice for his heinous crimes against humanity. Kony is a militant guerrilla leader who has terrorized Central Africa for a decade, and whose despicable acts – especially against children – landed him atop the list of war criminals at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. He is still at large.
America’s New Social Conscience
I’m sad to say that I never heard of Joseph Kony before reading my teenage son’s Facebook post. As this film points out, I was clearly not alone. But I admit, I’m also proud to say that I now know of him because of my teenage son’s Facebook post. As you’ll see when you watch the video – and please do watch the video – the effort to publicize the atrocities of Joseph Kony has been lead largely by a fervent group of young people, a group that is growing ever larger in numbers today.
The advent of this new “social network” known as Facebook has facilitated the emergence of the new “social conscience” among today’s generation of young people who want so badly to do so much good for our world. As parents of this generation, we shouldn’t be surprised by phenomena such as the youthful rallying around the semi-rebellious messages of the oldest presidential candidate in the race, Ron Paul. And as parents of this generation, we should be humbled and assured by the legions of young people who are socially aware, morally conscientious and rising to causes that can improve human existence.
In the meantime, I decided to take a risk and violate my own personal Facebook policy. I “Liked” my son’s posting, and “Shared” it with my own minuscule group of Friends. Given the cause – and the source – I figured it was a chance worth taking. I only hope that once he notices, he still decides to keep me as a Friend. While I wouldn’t really miss the many one-eyed wincing postings, I sure do hate the thought of missing the inspirational ones. And I’m betting there will be more to come.