Well, in true procrastinator mode, I’m putting off until tomorrow today’s post. Okay, maybe not complete procrastinatorship (as if my grammar hacking isn’t enough, I”m now making up words!), but I can’t help but share what a parent sent me this morning. It sure hits home. And I know that though “chores” aren’t the complete answer, getting our eyes off ourselves and training our kids to do the same just might be life saving.
From Fox News yesterday: We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists (ouch!) by Dr. Keith Ablow
A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
This data is not unexpected. I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.
On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”
Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.
That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. [sidebar: pride is never a good thing…period.] The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. … They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.
Distractions, however, are temporary, and the truth is eternal. Watch for an epidemic of depression and suicidality, not to mention homicidality, as the real self-loathing and hatred of others that lies beneath all this narcissism rises to the surface. I see it happening and, no doubt, many of you do, too.
We had better get a plan together to combat this greatest epidemic as it takes shape. Because it will dwarf the toll of any epidemic we have ever known. And it will be the hardest to defeat. Because, by the time we see the scope and destructiveness of this enemy clearly, we will also realize, as the saying goes, that it is us.
Anyway… thanks for walking this road together. It might feel like we’re swimming upstream on certain days, but it’s worth it.