Since we were small children, we were taught to put ourselves first . . . GenMe’s focus on the needs of the individual is not necessarily self-absorbed or isolationist; instead, it’s a way of moving through the world beholden to few social rules and with the unshakable belief that you’re important. It’s also not the same as being “spoiled” which implies that we always get what we want; though this probably does describe some kids, it’s not the essence of the trend. We simply take it for granted that we should all feel good about ourselves, we are all special, and we all deserve to follow our dreams. (Generation Me, p. 49)
|The Self Across The Generations|
Journey, potentials, searching
Change the world
Protests and group sessions
Philosophy of Life
Follow your dreams
Watching TV/Web Surfing
Feeling good about yourself
- In 1967, a whopping 86% of incoming college students said that “developing a meaningful philosophy of life” was an essential life goal. Only 42% of GenMe freshmen in 2004 agreed.
- By the mid-1990’s, the average GenMe college man had higher self-esteem than 86% of college men in 1968. The average mid-1990s college woman had higher self-esteem than 71% of Boomer college women…A 1997 survey of teens asked, “In general, how do you feel about yourself?” A stunning 93% answered “good”. (p. 52)
- Boomer children in the 1950s and 1960s gained self-esteem naturally from a stable, child-friendly society; GenMe’s self-esteem has been actively cultivated for its own sake…Most of these [self-esteem] programs encourage children to feel good about themselves for no particular reason. (p. 56)
- Many young people also display entitlement; a facet of narcissism that involves believing that you deserve and are entitled to more than others…young employees expected too much too soon and had very high expectations for salary and promotions. (p. 70)
- Self-esteem does not protect against teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, drug abuse, or chronic welfare dependency.
What does this mean for the mission of the church? First, we must hold Genesis 2 in careful balance with Genesis 3. We are created in His image but we have vandalized it. Second, we need to proclaim the truth that Christ’s death only has subjective value for me if it had a real objective meaning. The fact that Jesus had to die for me humbles me out of self-importance and faulty self-esteem. The fact that Jesus was glad to die for me assures me that I am more loved than I can possibly imagine. Third, we pray and ask that hearts and minds would be staggered by the glory of God.