Selfless growth

Posted: March 31, 2012


It’s time to look beyond yourself

Brigid Kelly, Talon staff writer

We’ve lost touch and we’ve lost perspective. Our sights have been misdirected. We are the next generation and the high expectations that have been set by our parents can’t be ignored – but somehow we’ve managed to bury them under a mess of artificial amusements.

Service.  It’s a concept that has been drowning deeper into the depths of the unknown and unnoticed with every passing year. Our generation has managed to bury it underneath superficial distractions aimed towards self-righteous gains. Servanthood  is an aspect of American culture that is more lost than ever before, but it’s an issue that has the potential for an easy remedy.

The predictions vary for the future of our generation, “Generation Y”. These predictions include everything from a people of debt to an age set to actually change the world. It will be up to us to shape that reputation.

Narcissism. It’s yet another aspect of our generation that has taken too prominent of a role.  Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, recently conducted a study about narcissism among high school and college students. Her research found that leisure values have steadily increased over generations of  U.S. high school seniors. Twenge also found narcissism, an inflated sense of personal importance and a need for admiration, to be  more prevalent among college students than ever before.

“We live under the illusion that it’s just about you,” said economics and philosophy teacher David Hoffner. “Innately, the easiest thing for us to do is to be entirely self-focused.”

Long story short, we’re demanding less of ourselves than we should. We’re becoming increasingly concerned with ourselves – the money we can make, the popularity we can achieve and the earthly things we can selfishly accomplish during our short time here.

Our self-centered nature has consumed the features of life that once help great meaning – altruism, truthfulness and selflessness, among many more. It’s time to grow up and look beyond our selfish selves.

So maybe you have volunteered, tons of teens technically do – but not for the right reasons. College applications arguably peg volunteering as a requirement for admittance. There’s a difference between serving to satisfy your own needs and serving to better the lives of others.

Why not strive for a meaningful existence? Why not work to leave a positive impact on someone else’s life? There was a time where Servanthood was expected, but now it’s considered optional and in some cases completely ignored.

“It’s so easy to have excuses,” said Hoffner. “We live in an age of multiplied distractions.”

Excuses. Our generation has created what could be considered the most extensive, manipulative and believable forms of excuses that ears have ever heard. We have explanations for everything and anything – and it’s time to stop.

Whether you’re religious or not, as human beings, we’re called to be servants – by Jesus, by our government and by Minnehaha Academy. Christians are called to be servants to God and His creations. The United States Government calls on its citizens to serve through numerous methods ranging from a simple vote to civic engagement programs.

Minnehaha uses an educational structure based on servant leadership to catapult us into the real world. Opportunities to be selfless and give ourselves a healthy moral compass are all around us – and many of us are simply too lazy to take advantage of those opportunities.

In fact, there is an already-organized service adventure that is already set up for students. Minnehaha’s Cultural Field Experience is just a few weeks away – take advantage of this opportunity to serve genuinely and whole-heartedly.

The world exists for a purpose – it holds value and truth beyond human understanding. Why not give your life meaning by seeking out the value around you?

Even though the volunteerism you may eventually pursue could be difficult and tiring, it could also be extremely rewarding. It could create a new form of happiness only possible after seeking out aspects of life outside the shell of your own body.

Our generation has a lot of growing up to do. The scales need to start falling from our eyes piece by piece for us to realize that there’s infinite meaning to life outside of ourselves. Only when we stop asking whether or not we plan to serve the world and replace it with how we will serve, will the scales be entirely shed leaving room for our growth to truly begin.

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