So much has been written on self-esteem in the last few decades. The dictionary definition is: Confidence in one’s own worth and abilities. I don’t know about you, but I often question my own worth and abilities based on anything I can do in my own strength. I am so grateful as a believer to base my view of myself on God-esteem (confidence in God’s worth and abilities in me).
If you reflect back over the last 30 years, many psychologists have told us that we need to instill tons of self-esteem into our children or we will damage their little psyches. This has backfired into an epidemic called “entitlement”. In defense of psychology, many people coming out of the depression era and us baby boomers definitely needed something more to boost our confidence. I think as boomers raising our own children, some of us took it to the extreme! In competitive sports all of our kids got trophies regardless of whether they did their best or not. They were told they can do anything, have anything and be anything to the point where many of them developed their own little god complex. As these kids have grown into adults, many of them believe that they shouldn’t have to do manual labor or work their way up in the world. Some of them are disappointed when they don’t start as the CEO of a company. I am hoping that Generation X and Generation Y are learning from our mistakes!
Galatians 5:22-26The Message (MSG)
22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
How can we as a society correct what we have done? My opinion (and it’s only my opinion) is that we first apologize to our kids and grown children for not letting them fail when it would have produced good fruit in them. We direct them in love and show them in the scriptures how patience, long-suffering, meekness, gentleness, etc. brings them to peace and love with others. We instill in them that they may be able to do anything and become anything, however, it’s always best to press into God for their divine destiny and follow that path.
How are you inspiring your children and grandchildren to live by God’s standards in this age of entitlement? I would love to hear from you.