One can't help to notice the growing external ways in which we define ourselves as a modern society and as a parent of two growing kids in this modern world, it's truly worrisome trend.
To begin, aside from our names, ages and interests, we primarily define ourselves externally these days. You don't believe me? When you first meet someone the first thing people often ask you about yourself is about your job, or where you live; this is especially true when men meet each other for the first time but not exclusively. You see, in a modern society, people need this type of information in order to subconsciously place you in the socioeconomic pecking order they have in their minds. And we go along with it for it's all we have learned to care about after all in our superficial dealings with one another. Now it's through our jobs, our homes, our education, our clothes, our phones, our abilities, and our friends, that we know where we stand with each other. We never even stop to wonder where or what we would be without all these perceived labels.
On that same note, I just read about DC Council chairman Brown costing DC taxpayers nearly 4-thousand dollars a month on 2 fully loaded SUVs paid for by the hard working folk of DC. The guy just HAD to have "black on black" and when he did not get it, he ordered another one; adding two suvs to the DC payroll. Oftentimes, when I hear about absurd things politicians do I wonder out loud who the heck elected these clowns to begin with. But we as regular folk are somewhat at fault. We are so enthralled with the rich and famous that if they jumped off a building claiming it could cure cancer we'd surely justify some way to follow them down. You don't believe me? Then let's look at Bill Gates. Mr. gates has no experience in education whatsoever. He quit school himself, his kids probably don't even go to public schools, yet, he's allowed to restructure public education for the whole country?.....why? say it with me, .....because he's filthy rich.
Not only are we obsessed with the rich, but our kids are too. Check out the silly TV shows they have feeding our kids' brains day in and day out. They are filled with disgustingly bratty teens who have egos the size of Manhattan. Kids want to be just like the rich brat they see on TV. I don't think we have enough room for the egos being bred by this rich-obsessed generation.
You might be one of those parents who grew up with very little and see no harm in gadgeting your teen until he no longer needs to move to communicate with the world, but the real problem in doing that lies in how all these things are perceived as a replacement for ones' definition of oneself. A few years back my brother, who I love very much, had to be tough on my niece (his daughter) and the consequence was to take her phone away for one day. If you were the neighbor on the night the consequence was dispensed, you'd think someone got stabbed repeatedly. But no, a phone was being repossessed by a parent and to my niece this was simply as close to death as you could get. So the next logical question is, what are we without our labels, without out things? Are we less? are we nothing? Can our kids define themselves without their things?
There is so little time and space for developing human value and qualities within our kids that we have since confused the 'gadgeting load-up' as an acceptable way of parenting. We all grew up hearing about how materialistic things are not important, yadi, yadi, yadi. The saying is so ridiculously cliche our brains start to immediately shut down before the phrase is even done. But the truth of the matter is that we ourselves have begun to blur the lines and believe in our hearts that these external qualities really do define our children. I often reveal to friends with kids that I will forever remind my own children that their grades are not who they are and that these numbers will never add up to be their 'worth'. That C- minus does not define you just as much as that A++ does not define you. We grew up in a generation where our grades defined who we were, and most importantly who we would end up being. That was simply not true then and not true today. Academic success alone does not translate to happiness. Developing ourselves as curious, innovative human beings would make for a much more content grown up.
So the next time you meet a new person. Instead of asking them what they do for a living, ask them what they like to do for fun? Or what life-changing book they have read lately...Dare to walk around life without strapping on your labels every morning....just be part of the world without the extra weight of labels and experience what is truly happening instead. Today, you will not be a mom, nor artist, or an expert, or a boss, or the smartest person in the group, or the funniest.... today, you will just be part of the experience itself, fully alive.