Tags: entitlement | kindness | civility

Culture Change Only Comes From Human Interaction

Culture Change Only Comes From Human Interaction

By Tuesday, 27 March 2018 04:21 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Boy likes girl.

Boy’s best friend likes same girl.

Awkwardness ensues. Situation works itself out. Life goes on.

This scenario is so common that it has inspired numerous romantic comedies.

We’re able to laugh because people used to rationally deal with things like this all the time. Why? Because they had been taught right from wrong, and learned how to pick themselves up after being knocked down.

But increasingly, people snap, resorting to violence as their “coping” mechanism. This is especially true for children of the Coddled Generation, who know little about human interaction and even less about empathy.

This just played out in Florida as a 16-year-old boy, jealous over his friend’s relationship with a girl, allegedly lured his buddy into the woods and bashed him to death with a baseball bat. According to reports, the suspect stated just days before, “I wonder what it’s like to murder someone.”

Also in Florida, a 12-year-old girl who had recently moved there committed suicide after being ruthlessly harassed. She felt constantly “isolated and manipulated and demoralized,” according to her father, by physical bullying, text messages, and social media posts replete with taunts that she should kill herself. After confiding to a classmate that she had been considering suicide, his response was: “If you’re going to do it, just do it” — epitomizing this generation’s appalling lack of compassion and self-awareness.

And it’s not just adolescents. Just last year, a Penn State student died after falling down stairs following a night of heavy drinking. Despite his obviously dire situation, not a single person called 9-1-1 for over twelve hours.

There have always been lapses in judgement, but never to this extent. So why the change?

This column examined a host of reasons in a three-article series on why mass killings are prevalent now, when they were virtually nonexistent just two decades ago.

Truth be told, most of the solutions are years away, if ever.

That said, we can take immediate steps to begin changing our culture.

One answer? Be nicer, demonstrate empathy, and engage people, no matter who they are or what they do, by lifting our heads from our phones.

Admittedly, that sounds overly simplistic corny. But just because something is trite doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Caveat: true change can only occur if things are done with genuine intent. In other words, superficial attempts to impress, and then posting them on social media for “likes,” simply perpetuates the problem.

Look at power outages. Countless social media posts always state: “we sat around the fire having a family meal, playing board games and actually talking!  It was great to be free of television, video games and phones… wonderful being together as a family again!”

All true, but vanishes the minute power is restored, as parents and children make a mad dash to their devices. So once again, too many talk the talk, but choose not to walk the walk, as restored “hallowed” human interaction lasted a whopping three, maybe four days.

That’s not to naïvely suggest that technology should be forsaken. Obviously, it’s here to stay. But if we are truly serious about changing how our children act, it is imperative that we first discipline ourselves. Lessons in behavior and courtesy, which worked for generations, must come from us.

It used to be that, when people had a problem, they’d talk things out civilly. But that’s been replaced by an entitled, self-absorbed attitude.

Now, it’s acceptable to demonize on social media; shout obscenities at the guy who didn’t stomp on the gas at the green light; insult someone at the ATM because we’re “inconvenienced” by waiting two minutes; butt into line; scream at referees during youth sports games; and allow young children to call teachers and coaches by their first names. Manners and etiquette have become foreign concepts.

Ironically, the same people telling the world their life story via car bumper — they graduated Virginia Tech, vacation in Nantucket, did Disney, love Pomeranians, brake for squirrels, hate guns, support the troops, save the whales, and have brainiac middle school honor students — won’t give others the time of day in the elevator or coffee shop. No hellos, God Bless Yous, or good mornings. Nothing.

How can we expect our children to be respectful when we don’t exhibit that trait ourselves?


An irony of the recent school walkout is that some of the same students who chanted “never again,” over-simplistically blaming guns for the massacres, are the very ones who contribute to the isolation and embarrassment of others.

That in no way casts blame on anyone but the murderers themselves. All culpability must reside with the individual who pulls the trigger. But if we are to stem the killings, we must start being honest in looking at all factors that lead a person to snap.

It isn’t necessary to be friends with everyone; that’s not human nature. But it also isn’t necessary to constantly harass the “weird” kid in the lunchroom. It would work wonders if, now and again, the “in crowd” engaged the shy or unathletic kids, setting an example that public humiliation is unacceptable. Unfortunately, that rarely occurs. Instead, we see a steady stream of emasculating insults directed at someone both in person and on social media. Unlike earlier times, that insult isn’t limited to a few people having a laugh. To the victim, he has just been mercilessly bullied in front of the entire world, since social media is the new world.

There is no excusing criminal behavior. But it is critical to understand that lack of parental involvement and unprecedented ostracization are the recipe for personal destruction. The key is to change that mentality before it becomes a problem.

Many will say that’s common sense, and therefore superfluous. But ironically, social media proves that random acts of kindness are just that — random and sparse. Videos of someone helping an elderly man cross the street, or assisting a woman with her groceries, become “viral,” but why? Those things should be the norm, but are so rare that they generate social media sensations.

The bigger questions are A) Why is someone videoing such acts, instead of helping? B) With millions gushing about such conduct, why aren’t they following that example? If they did, by definition, courtesy would be commonplace, and therefore, not sensationalized.


Changing our society must begin one person at a time, maybe by A) engaging the fast food worker in conversation; B) respectfully disagreeing with someone on Facebook, C) not screaming at an umpire; and D) helping those around us.

If we are ever going to reclaim our humanity and re-instill empathy and respect, we need to remember that the most important race isn’t who posts first on social media.

It’s the human race.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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If we are ever going to reclaim our humanity and re-instill empathy and respect, we need to remember that the most important race isn’t who posts first on social media.
entitlement, kindness, civility
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 04:21 PM
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