How did it happen that a generation embraced a narcissistic entitlement mentality. We’ve long suspected it and now research shows it’s true: the new ‘teenager’ is basically a narcissistic self-obsessed little cherub. Don’t rely on them making any sort of meaningful contribution to our society in the future because they’ll be too busy wanting to become the next ‘reality’ TV star, regular headliner of the social pages or professional footballer.
So who is going to carry the load? Where will our future doctors, nurses, teachers or policemen come from? A world-wide poll conducted in 47 countries has revealed, it is those from the so-called ‘developing’ countries that aspire to the roles that older generations regarded as inspiring and worthwhile, particularly in the provision of health care and teaching.
Sadly, Australian children now mostly aspire to becoming a professional athlete, entertainer or a professional artist. The irony is that the best people in these categories has expended a great deal of hard work in getting there and perhaps been graced with a smidgeon of luck on the way. The tweenagers expect to get there by being ‘discovered’, just like Justin Bieber.
And what about the children from the developing countries? The differences are stark. In Nepal, Zambia and Laos, more than 40% want to become teachers compared to children in western countries. In Ghana, Uganda and Sri Lanka, 67% want to become doctors, dentists, and nurses compared to 8% locally. Conversely, the idea of becoming an entertainer has occurred to only 2% of children in developing countries.
Now our kids just want to be famous. And who can blame them? Magazines, TV and trashy websites are full of the wit and wisdom of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians. They have no discernible talent, but they do have great publicists. Unfortunately, teenagers lack the life experience to understand the fragile nature of fame without talent especially for the longer term.. and even if they do it doesn’t seem to matter. Many have been indulged and had their self-esteem pumped to the point where they believe the illusions their parents, teachers, media and social engineers have fed them.
When reality hits in their twenties and thirties, how will they cope? Study the bankruptcy statistics for the under 30’s and you will be shocked. The world can be a cold, hard place where little notice will be taken of all the pampered darlings with no talent and no ethic for hard work… perseverance and attitude to having a go.
The last thirty years have seen a huge difference in children’s dreams and aspirations. From a majority of children wanting to pursue careers that helped the community and pulled it together, they now focus solely on themselves and their belief that the only goal is to become famous. We have unleashed a generation of no-talent darlings into our society, however well-meaning we might have been.
We’ve done this. Yes as baby boomers we relinquished responsibility as elders to positively mentor our children about the real things that matter and have also worked as best as can be in the past. The importance of family for instance as a guiding value which has positively made a difference for over 5000 years and yet it has been attacked as a positive model because some social engineers have said so. We have discarded our positional leadership and its influence to guide our kids like previous generations and rewarded mediocrity over effort at home and at school. We’ve not exposed them to the real role models in our society, the true heroes or helped them to experience the satisfaction we can get from helping others. Now they have an unrealistic sense of entitlement and a fervent belief that nothing will stop their rise to the top.
If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how the little darlings cope with the eventual realisation that they are going to have to work for a living. And if they can’t or won’t do it, there are plenty of well-trained professionals from the developing countries who will be only too happy to fill those positions. In Australia’s case we have hordes (legal and illegal) arriving to do just that.
Is the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” culture positive for your kids? What do you think?