My husband and I were challenged at a youth workers conference to read a book entitled Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled- and More Miserable Than Ever Before. Weird thing was, that I actually had checked that very book out of the library and brought on the plane to read on the way to the conference. Spooky!
Generation Me is a look at the current state of teens (actually up to age 30 because apparently they never grow up now a days.)
Author Jean Twenge did research by comparing standardized personality questionnaires given to college students which have been used by personality psychologists since the 1950’s. The questions remained the same all these years, but she found that the answers to the questions shifted dramatically . She decided to compare the answers given in the 50’s to the answers given by todays college kids. And she went on to document this shift in this incredible book.
The teens raised by those whose parents went through the Depression Era had a totally different mindset than the kids of today. They did things for the benefit of the entire family. Kids today have been taught to do things to please themselves. Fifty years ago, it was not uncommon for men to worked dead end jobs to keep food on their families tables. The mindset around work today is to be personally fulfilled–and if we are not, we move on. Back then, families stayed together more often because it was better for the kids. Today, if parents aren’t happy, they do what is best for themselves.
I won’t give too much of the book away, because if you are a parent, you really should read this–although this is not a book to leave lying around on the coffee table or to let your children loose on. It contains several graphic examples of just how far our teens have come. :/
What was disturbing to me was the fact that I could see myself in so many of the attitudes of the current generation. And I didn’t even realize it. And when you read this book, you discover how incredibly selfish we have raised our kids to be. Years ago, instilling self esteem was a big concern among mothers. Today’s children, however, have always been told how amazing they really are. And they believe it. And that is where is gets scary.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Even when we are drenching our minds with scripture, we still pick up the vain philosophies of this world.
We are bombarded with these messages every day. When my girls were little, they used to participate in a little violin performance to raise money for a scholarship fund at the music school they attended. On the brochure, it said “Twinkle, Twinkle, You’re a Star.” I informed my girls that they were not stars, but servants of others, and that to have that kind of mindset is selfish. Oh yes. I am THAT kind of mother.
Consider these messages and then weigh them with scripture.
Be your own boss! —Submit one to anther.
You Can Be Anything You Want to Be—I know the plans I have for you.
The greatest love of all is to love yourself.–Love your God first and then your neighbor.
Indulge!—Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.
Be Strong!—When I am weak, then I am strong.
Stand Up for Your Rights!– Turn the other cheek. If sued for your shirt, give to them your coat also.
I Don’t Get Mad, I Get Even!— Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you…turn the other cheek.
Do What’s Right for You!— Let us consider one another.
Do What Makes You Happy—If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments. I do the will of my Father.
My husband also agreed, that he could see some of these tendencies in himself, and we both had parents who had taught us otherwise. It seeped in, despite the best of teaching. So, I would encourage you today to evaluate the messages we accept, even unknowingly, and weigh them with scripture.
As believers, we need to be loving God and serving others, and I think that if we thought about ourselves a whole lot less than all of those slogans above encouraged us to do, we would have less time to think of ME, ME, ME and more time to serve others well.