An open letter from Jo Lord, Revolution Youth’s Executive Director. Youth don’t stand a chance. And that’s not okay with us.
Another year has passed; probably the most difficult one of my life so far. I’ve never seen so much division, anger and bitterness amongst those we have always considered ‘loved ones’.
As a society we have all but lost our empathy and compassion, which has limited our capacity to love our own neighbors. We’ve been so caught up in the echo chambers of our own making that we are deaf to alternative ways of thinking. We forget — or have chosen to ignore — that every human has a vast amount of experiences that make up their life, their beliefs and worldview. It’s easier to attack someone’s opinion than to listen thoughtfully to the reason behind that belief. We have fallen so in love with our own groups and ideas that we’ve glorified the public shaming of those who see the world differently.
Perhaps there is a remnant of us who refuse to partake in the hatred and slander of others. Those of us who may hold virtue-bound opinions, but refuse to engage in this shameful virtual warfare. Social media now — a metaverse later — where we live these virtual lives that involve no face to face interaction. Where we can hide behind the hateful words we type on our keyboards. Where bots and trolls endlessly provoke hatred and intolerance of each other. There is no forgiveness. There is no mercy. There is no love.
Imagine growing up in a world like this. Youth don’t stand a chance. From the very day they are born there are pictures and videos of them posted all over the internet. They live in a fishbowl their whole childhood and adolescence. Everything they say and do is recorded, documented and can be (and often is) used against them years down the road.
Yes, justice and accountability are needed. So are forgiveness and mercy. Most people learn by making mistakes. Either the result is obviously regretful, or someone points out how we could’ve done better. The manner in which we approach holding people accountable is of utmost importance. We should save the public crucifixions and character assassinations as a very last resort.
This toxic online culture is all this new generation knows. Their whole lives revolve around their connection. When they get ostracized, bullied or ‘canceled’, especially publicly humiliated, there’s very little hope for a thriving life afterwards. Youth suicide — especially with teenage boys — is tragically at an all time high. This will only increase.
As we transition into a new year, there is a glimmer of hope ahead. For those of us who grew up in a world where loving your neighbor was normal, we owe it to the next generation to show them that same love. Those of us who have received mercy for our cringing moments in the past owe it to this generation to extend that same mercy forward.
Our mission at Revolution Youth is to support and equip youth to reach their potential and find fulfillment in their lives. We believe uplifting, encouraging and mentoring the next generation is one of the greatest needs underinvested in our world today. We advocate unconditional love for every human, with no strings attached. This means tolerance. Mercy. Discretely nudging them in the right direction. Most importantly: consistently encouraging youth and celebrating them for who they are, not only what they do.
Youth don’t stand a chance. And that’s not okay with us.
There’s still time to make an end of the year donation to help support as many teenagers as possible by December 31st. We greatly appreciate your help and will put your investment directly to use.