By Brad Harrub, Ph.D.
I didn’t believe it when I first heard the news. A college student was sharing with me how no one in one of her classes could fail. She went on to explain how the school had adopted the new “no zero” policy, and one professor had made it a “no fail” policy. She said if students didn’t turn in their work or literally copied their research papers word-for-word from the Internet, the student would receive a C-. I was dumbfounded. I wanted to clarify: “You mean to tell me if you don’t do anything, or turn in someone else’s paper from the internet word-for-word then you still pass?” She responded, “You got it!” Welcome to the new age, where participation trophies and building up self-esteem is all that really matters.
We have raised a generation of individuals who definitely have a high self-esteem. But at what cost? These young people are not like Olympians who spend long hours training and working hard. No, these are lazy teens who believe they should be rewarded simply because they exist. They are not willing to put in the time or energy to reach a specific goal. As a result, we are beginning to reap other fruits from this messed up style of parenting. For instance, most modern parents believe their little “angel” is gifted or brilliant—and any problems that arise must be the fault of someone else (i.e., the teacher), not their child.
Add to this the children have bought into the parents’ lies, and they have become the most narcissistic generation in the history of man. These are the young people who think nothing of taking 40-60 selfies per day, and believe they are entitled to a life of luxury without having to work hard. They have grown up believing life is all about being entertained and as a result they show little to no work ethic.
I fully recognize narcissism has always been around—but not to this degree. We hear it in song lyrics and see it emphasized in the media. Young people wear clothing that literally says, “It’s all about me!” or “All me all the time.” So what happens when you try to share the Gospel with individuals who believe the world literally revolves around them? They don’t realize they “need” anything—because after all, it’s all about them.
Parents please think about this: If you are feeding your child’s narcissism then you are directly responsible for teaching them idolatry and you are marching them away from the Almighty Creator. The idol they are now worshipping? Themselves. The inspired psalmist wrote, “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” Psalm 10:4.
One would be hard pressed to find any Scripture that supports narcissism. One of the central themes that the Bible teaches against is pride. In Proverbs 16:18-19 we read, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Jesus routinely espoused the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He went on to declare, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” Mark 8:34.
Moms and Dads, you are not doing your children any favors by constantly building them up. You are not training up servants for Christ if they are obsessed with “selfies.” You are not helping them grow into faithful Christians if they believe they are entitled to a life of ease and entertainment. Some of the most powerful growth opportunities come from times of failure. It may be during those times of failure that they discover just how much they need Christ.