Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moving from ME to OTHERS in your home

Do you know what everyone born in the 70's, 80's, 90's and through today has in common?  They're technically called the ME Generation. Somewhere in time our society began to subtly become more and more focused on MY needs, MY possessions, MY success and MY pleasures.  It's kind of sad, in one sense, that someone had to actually name it.

However, if we're honest the ME in us didn't begin in the 70's. Since the creation of mankind, we all have had a major tendency within us to think about ourselves first and others second. While we don't say this in public, we might as well:  OK, enough of me talking about me.  Why don't YOU talk about me?  In fact, a recent country western song by Toby Keith was entitled exactly that . . . I Wanna Talk About Me!

And unfortunately the focus on me rather than others can seep into the fabric of our homes. We can schedule all our time around our desires, we let our kids be involved in every extra opportunity and we even troll the church scene to make sure our kids hear the best youth speaker in one church, get the best Bible study at another and enjoy the ultimate worship at another.

Let's be careful that we're not sending the message that life really is all about us. Do we want our kids to only be consumers and not investors in the lives of other people?  Of course wanting to provide excellent educational and personal growth experiences for our kids and family as a whole are fine. But do we balance all that with focusing on others?

Here are a few ideas. How about next Christmas taking most of the money you would have spent on gifts for each other and giving it away to another family, service organization or special project?  Why not substitute an extra gymnastics or music class some semester with going and serving at a church ministry or community shelter?

Could you go as a family or couple on a missions trip using money you would have just kept for yourselves?  You can seen that the ideas to teach about caring for others and not ourselves are many.  Think of ones that would work for your family.

In fact, be careful that even your words of praise at home might send an it's-all-about-me message.  If we never tell our kids, for example, when they make a mistake or could do something better, but always encourage them anyway, we're setting them up for false confidence and arrogance. They can begin to believe that they deserve to be complimented, affirmed and applauded no matter what. They'll expect the same in school, in work and in life . . . and be disappointed.

So yes, build each other up but do it appropriately, honestly and with balance. Show them how to be more like Jesus who was always looking out for someone else.  Don't let ME become the dominant goal at your house. Make more of life about others.  That's when you really feel alive.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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