Drivers cutting in front of you in traffic, people closing the door behind them on your face, millennials stepping on you while chasing Pokemons, teenagers taking selfies on your face, preschoolers pushing classmates to be first in line, toddlers making fits at the grocery store for treats. I mean, I can go on and on, but I’m sure I made my point.
Does it sound familiar? Individualistic, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfie snapchatters, call it what you want, I call it : Me! Me! Me! I even have a theme song for every time I witness this behavior, whether they are young or old, familiar or strangers.
I actually came to terms with this epidemic a few years ago while attending a live speech about “Happiness,” by the Dalai Lamas. He spoke about the difference between community-oriented societies and individualistic cultures. There, I learned that individualism is the belief that one’s personal needs are more important than the needs of a society as a whole. You might think, that sounds like the millennial generations, but research suggest individualistic behaviors began at the turn of the 20th century with the Baby Boomers born after WWII.
It is no secret, we live in an self-centered society. The minute I left the Dalai Lamas’ speech, my friends and I took the train back to our hotel. While on the train, a gentleman sat right next to one my friends, he took his coat off and slapped my friend right on the face when he opened his newspaper. We all laughed and ever since that day, I began detecting this sort of narcissistic behavior.
How do we stop it? How do we raise our children not to grow up to be individualistic, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfie snapchatters narcissist? Well, I’m no expert on the Me-Me-Me syndrome, but one thing is for sure, acknowledging this epidemic is a good start. The man sitting on the train, most likely didn’t noticed my friend, neither did the guy cutting in front of me in traffic, or the woman who closed the door on my face at the bank, but that doesn’t make it “okay.”
We have to teach our children to:
1) Be Aware of Our Surroundings
This includes the people, animals and plants. To be aware of others teaches us to be compassionate, empathetic, welcoming and accepting. All these practices can help them deviate from self-centered and me-me-me tendencies.
2) Serve as an Example
As parents, we can prevent or decrease this behavior in our children by serving as an example. Let’s do the exact opposite of the me-me-me behavior and let’s teach our children how to be giving, kind, and patient. Next time you are driving, let others by patiently, wait for the person behind you before closing the door, give something away to charity every time you receive a gift. The ideas are countless and the impact measureless.
3) Ignore the Me-Me-Me Siren
Another thing parents can do, or avoid doing, is not always jumping every time the me-me-me siren goes off. Remember, children will go as far as you allow them and as much as we want to spoil them, we have to keep a balance routine for their sake, ours and society’s.
4) Me-Me-Me, Sing it!
You can make a song, a poem, a rhyme or a keyword to use it around your children every time they are displaying this kind of egocentric behavior. They will know what they are doing and either stop or laugh, but acknowledgement is the first step.
If you are curious to see if you or someone around you could have this Me-Me-Me syndrome, click here for a quick test (narcissistic personality inventory (NPI).
If you need to hear the me-me-me song, ask Ms. Fatima to sing it to you. I have sang it to her on a few occasions when necessary. For more blogs like this one, subscribe to Hollywood Learning’s blog!