The internet is full of words about privilege and entitlement and technology but too often we only focus on the negative side of that. We forget that for anyone to be underprivileged the majority has to be privileged. We often focus on shaming the privileged people instead of helping the underprivileged ones. We like to complain about what we don't have, instead of being thankful for what we have been given.
It’s easy to say, “Yeah, I’m blessed,” and then lose sight of that gratitude among the plethora of blessings and tribulations that come with every day. Sometimes though, the smallest things make the big ones glaringly obvious.
I was just reminded of this last weekend. I got a new phone, one of those smart ones. It has i-this and i-that, enough i-things that I just about need some i-buprofen. Unfortunately getting that phone was not easy. It took many confused phone calls and a few wasted hours waiting for help in the store.
Somewhere, about two trips to the mall into the process I got pretty frustrated. “Why can’t you just give me a phone?” “Why does this have to be so hard?” “Why can’t I just keep my phone number?” Questions and frustration bubbled through my brain as some poor guy tried to explain something about “Next.”
Eventually of course, it all worked out. My mom got an smartphone, I got a smartphone, nobody got ripped off (as far as I can tell) and everybody left happy. I walked out of the mall with a feeling of righteous contentment. It had been a hard battle but I had finally prevailed and taken what was mine.
Then I sat down to try out my new toy and it hit me: I have this thing in my pocket that can do just about anything! I mean, seriously, anything. It can take pictures, it can call people, it can tell me where to go, it knows my fingerprint, I can even talk to it. It can do things for me that I would never have imagined wanting.
With that realization my whole attitude changed. Go back 100 years, would anyone have even been able to comprehend how powerful this thing is? Heck, go back just twenty years, what would people have done to get this? Do you think they would mind waiting in line for a few hours? Do you think they would complain about a few frustrating phone calls?
Of course not. They would be amazed that I can make those phone calls from a device that fits in my pocket. How much is a camera like this worth? How much should it cost to be able to go on the internet anywhere. Quantify the value of the immediate connection to friends and family this phone gives me.
It feels like an infomercial. I have a library in my pocket, and a secretary, and a camera, and a typewriter, and a telegraph, and a couple of homing pigeons. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! I can also call my mom with it, and check my email, and my snapchat, and my grades. I can even do math problems on it, and ask it questions.
Honestly, just being able to call your mom from wherever you want, whenever you want, should be worth these minor inconveniences and expenses. All that other stuff is just icing on the cake.
So don’t get down because you are privileged, because you are blessed. Instead be thankful for it. Use that blessing as motivation to bless others.
I am a millennial. People say we are the generation that grew up believing we were “special.” Maybe we are the privileged, entitled, Peter Pan generation. That’s fine but I just want to be remembered as the first generation that could call their mom whenever they wanted.