Quite a while back I wrote about the “Princess Syndrome”. If we gave it its real title it would be Narcissism. This is not new and have all gone through narcissistic stages. The world centres on a two year old if your are two. And in your teenage years you were trying to be cool and sexy to attract the attention of the opposite sex.
But self obsession seems to have reached new levels. Part of the blame lies with the internet: social media – even blogging. I must admit searching my own conscience as I am writing this. When I first signed up to Twitter I found our what a friend had for breakfast everyday- I didn’t care, but obviously he thought I, and all his friends, did.
However Narcissism goes a lot deeper. This constant obsession with self: the advertisers love it, and we, who are parents, pander to it. We tell our kids over and over again they are special and we build up their self esteem. Is this wise when the child has done nothing worthwhile and we still say it?
Scripture reveals a more complex picture. By ourselves we are sinners; objects of God’s anger. In Christ, God sees us as innocent. The challenge, and I believe it is a real challenge, is to nurture our children in this more complex image. What they are in Christ is a gift of God, not a natural ability of their own. Their beauty, their gifts and talents, once again, are gifts of God. Like all gifts they are to be used to His glory not for self aggrandisement.
What we need to be praising and encouraging are those attributes in our children that are other centred and God centred. It is noticeable with both Jesus and Paul that they give praise when the Kingdom is being advanced. Maybe this should be our starting point too.