Teen Tuesday – It’s All about Me
This week’s discussion topic with the girls deals with two related topics: The “Me” Syndrome and Materialism.
What is the “Me” syndrome? Simply put, it’s focusing on yourself over anyone else. It’s seeing the world as revolving around you. Worst-case scenario, it’s being selfish and not caring about the people around you or how you might hurt them in getting what you want. Best-case scenario, it’s the practice of seeing everything around you (people, situations, actions, things, etc.) through the lens of how it relates to and you. Most of us are somewhere in the middle depending on the situation. It’s impossible to not constantly think about ourselves, especially for teenagers. That’s just human nature. And that’s not all bad. The problem, though, is that our society puts such high priority on getting ahead, being independent, taking care of number 1, and getting what you want at all costs. That sounds like an adult problem, but don’t you think this message carries over to our youth? They see the way we focus on ourselves and scramble to achieve “success.” Of course they’re going to also believe that’s what life is all about. Add to that the media’s strong message to teens (as well as adults) that life is also all about having fun, and what else is there for them to focus on but themselves?
One aspect of the whole “success” thing is the practice of materialism. When I ask my 9th graders what materialism is, only a few of them can tell me. Once I explain it, they all nod like they understand. But do they? Do they really? It’s easy to see our society as materialistic, but none of them actually see themselves as materialistic. “Oh, I’m not obsessed with things. My parents, maybe. I don’t have that much stuff anyway.” First of all, I don’t believe they don’t have much. Ask someone from a 3rd world country, and they’d say otherwise. Second of all, if I gave them $200, what would most of them do? Probably go buy something. That’s what you do with money, right? It’s just so easy to fall in sync with almost all of America as they run in the exhausting and never-ending rat race. It’s almost like the media and all the giant corporations that sell us everything are holding these carrots in front of all of us as we run, constantly pulling it away from us but keeping it in our sight just to tease us. When you think of it that way, we all seem kind of silly, don’t we?
But maybe you’re reading this thinking, “You know, it’s not such a bad thing to be materialistic. I mean, our whole country is materialistic – it’s what our society is built on, and God still blesses us over and abundantly.” But ponder this. Do you really think God loved the way the kings of the old testament had massive amounts of wealth and wives and killed massive amounts of people? He even said through Samuel when they anointed the first king, Saul, that he didn’t want them to have kings. That He was enough for them. But He let them have their soon-to-be corrupt system and blessed them anyway…over and abundantly.
I don’t think God likes our selfish materialism or our amassing great wealth as our peers here and abroad are starving or going without. Yet because He’s a loving, gracious God, He continues to love and bless us anyway!
So is this an excuse to continue in our ways? Absolutely not! It should humble us in the realization that we don’t deserve such blessings and give us motivation to give and bless others. None of this world’s treasures are ours. If we can remember that and how blessed we truly are, we will have the right mindset to continue living in this world, the way the corrupt system stands, but as a Godly example to those lost around us.