The other night I was sitting in our large group room at the Baptist Student Ministry house as we prayed for the church in Texas and the deaths that occurred there. When we finished praying, someone said, “It’s crazy how we are becoming desensitized to death and terror, when we wake up and hear about how another twenty people died, we just think to ourselves essentially, ‘wow, that sucks.’” Saying it that bluntly may seem kind of harsh, but take a step back and really think about it. We talk about how it’s, “crazy these things keep happening,” or, “I can’t even imagine that happening in my community,” but rarely we shed a tear.
Our generation is probably one of the last that can remember a time before this. I can hardly remember 9/11; however I can remember watching as people continued to feel the impacts of the attacks on the Trade Towers as I got further into elementary school. I can still think back to a time before it was just another day of waking up to people dying. Kids growing up now don’t have this. They don’t know anything different, they don’t know what it is like to not be constantly afraid of someone walking into their building and shooting students for no reason, they don’t know what it is like for one bombing or terrorist attack to completely change the world and the policies around us.
I have a challenge to those of you reading this post. When the next tragedy happens, before you take to Twitter or change your Facebook profile picture to show a frame supporting whatever country, take a moment to yourself. Take a couple minutes and reflect on what happened, let it wash over, let yourself feel the pain of others. Empathy is something that our world is losing because our instant reaction is just to talk, or post, instead of just feeling.
Then take REAL action. Don’t let our society and the next generations become apathetic, or feel as though this is just a part of day-to-day life. UD is such an ideal place to work and make a difference. Join a club that works to promote global awareness. As a member of Delaware Diplomats, I learn more about people from different cultures through attending events on campus and gaining scholarship money. By learning more about the culture around me, I am more connected to people groups and countries that I have never even visited.
Do something more than posting a status on social media. Go to your Resident Assistant and see if you can work together to raise money or resources for the people living in the affected areas. There are so many non-profits or advocacy groups you can get connected to. Maybe even reach out to an organization that helps serve people living in areas affected by these attacks and then see if you can start an RSO on campus working with them here at UD.
Had it not been for organizations like the Baptist Student Ministry here on campus, I could have also slipped into the same apathetic, automatic reaction the rest of the world is falling into. It is our job to be actively involved and hold each other accountable for empathy. How would you want others to react if your hometown or city was the next target? Then act in that way towards the ones that are.