I am reading “The Narcissism Epidemic.” It is scary. We are all in danger of adding to a growing cultural phenomenon that is quite destructive and opposite of the gospel.
Parenting is very important in the process of Narcissistic Development. Our worship of our children and grandchildren plays a major role.

Here is an excerpt from chapter 5.

“parenting is an incredibly powerful force for spreading cultural values. From our parents we learn right and wrong, how to treat others, political and economic beliefs, prejudice or tolerance, and manners or lack of manners. Parenting has a big impact on children because parents are the first one there (may I add the main ones there and with the most influence even in the teen years regardless of what authors say).”

“Here are a few steps parents can take to temper (notice the word is temper not prevent) narcissistic impulses in their children:
– Say no and mean it
– Don’t give your child too much power
– Carefully consider the messages you are sending to your children about competition and winning
– Think twice before you buy your kid something that announces how great he is.”
“The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean W. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.d.

If I may take a moment and make 2 comments.
The narcissism epidemic is affecting all of us. The younger generation is being exposed to “me” more than any other generation. It is beginning to explode which will lead to an implosion first in families, church, society and eventually nationally. Literally the narcissism epidemic places an emphasis on our goodness which emphasises not our self-image but how great we are. It gives a false image of life. It perverts the gospel. It affects everything. Eventually as the epidemic grows and morphs just like a virus, we will return to the days of old when in the book of Kings “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” That will not include just the world but inside the church as well.
This is a serious issue. The longer I counsel, the roots of narcissism are growing. One sure sign is the inability to interpret life through the lens of another. This leads to great judgement, blame and a distortion of reality. If we can blame everyone else, than I rule supreme.
I would like to make a second point. One of the interesting things in the advice to parents is to consider the messages about competition
and winning. I was a physical education major. In 1981 one of the last projects we completed was to discuss the influence of culture on sport and sport on culture. Little did I know we were looking into the future.
Is there any correlation between our kids participating in sports younger and longer and narcissism? I believe so. The idea of putting kids younger and younger in competition regardless of the purpose of a league teaches win, win, win. Kids can’t just be kids. Their parents are on the sideline going nuts. What I have seen from parents (our kids know exactly what they are doing and saying) is feeding kids giant doses of narcissism pills. It has become a social issue if kids don’t play sports, dance, go to camps and so on. The problem is not the kids. The problem is the parenting.
The answer is not “everybody wins and give a trophy to everyone.” Kids are not stupid. They know who wins. They know how it works. They listen and watch their parents.
Bottom line, sports is feeding the narcissism epidemic. Kids can’t just be kids and kick a ball around the back yard. The can’t learn from general social interaction. Instead they are forced to play and forced to win. Changing the end (everybody is a winner) is not the answer. Not only that but life is not “everybody is a winner.” It teaches a lie.
Narcissism is not to be ignored by anyone. It is the growing selfishness that is being taught and it is out of control. We are all affected.
The gospel is the opposite of narcissism yet how does the gospel make sense when we teach and display the importance of “me” how does self-sacrifice mean anything? The gospel actually says that there are losers. The gospel says that we are not the center of the universe. The gospel says to lay down our life for another not expect everyone else to lay down their life for me. The gospel says the goal is not to be served but to serve.
What is of greater danger is not our culture but the gospel. narcissism is an all out blitz to take our attention away from the words of the gospel. The more we can focus on me, the less I can focus on God. Narcissism is a sneaky tool of the devil. He can shroud a lot of “good” in looking out for “me.” It is not about what is good. Life is about what is Godly.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
Like any other battle the answer is the gospel. We got to forget about all the other stupid battles that take us away from the one most important question:
Can I get “me” out of the way? Not on my own. M.C. Hammer was right. “I got to pray just to make it today.” One day at a time. One relationship at a time. I need the gospel and the Lord more than every before…I am the enemy at the same time I am His child. Thank goodness it is not by my righteousness.
O.k enough rambling. My own narcissism is trying to take over.

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