I’m frequently asked the question, it seems, why are children so different today? Why is the generation of children we are raising today, the generation we are fighting for, appear so different? As I look back at my childhood, I notice such stark differences between the world I grew up in as opposed to the world I’m watching my own dear children grow up in.

The word that stands out to me today is “self.” When I grew up, people seemed to be so selfless, yet that is opposite of what I observe today. The focus was always on others and very rarely on oneself. I was taught to be selfless and unselfish. However, in today’s society, “self,” has taken on a completely new meaning. As I flip through television channels, scroll through news feeds on Facebook, glance at pictures on Instagram, or open a Snapchat someone sends to one of my children, all I see is SELF. Technology is a tool that has benefitted many in wonderful ways; however, I see it as a means for making this generation only care about oneself.

Think about when you grew up. Your mom or dad owned a camera the size of toaster, or maybe you were fortunate enough to have some disposable cameras. After the pictures were snapped, you waited eagerly for days to get the film developed, and you couldn’t wait. The pictures were never of just you, they were of you and OTHERS. Oftentimes, mom or dad didn’t get in the pictures because someone had to take it. Now, fast forward to today. You have a camera in your hands at all times, and you have the means to capture a picture of anything at any given moment. But what pictures are being taken? Selfies.

Selfies are the pictures being taken. And my, oh my, the word “selfie” says it all. The definition of a “selfie” is a photograph that one has taken of oneself. The selfie is the picture girls take when their makeup looks best, boys take when they’ve won the championship, and grown adults take to make others think their life is picture perfect. But this is my question, why selfies? Why are selfies the predominant picture in today’s world and how does this relate to why this generation is unlike previous generations?

The day a baby is born, he immediately shows just how selfish he is. The demands an infant places on his parents, at all hours of the day, indicates that we truly are born with selfishness instilled inside of us. As a child grows, he throws fits and tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. As adolescence begins and the teen years set in, kids continue to focus on themselves. At what point does a child turn from benefitting oneself and begin helping and serving others? Today, kids are encouraged to take selfies, post them on social media, and look their absolute best in these pictures.

And this is my entire reason for even writing about this. When are we as grown adults and parents going to rise up and teach this generation that it is not about ONESELF. It is about OTHERS. It’s not about taking pictures of yourself. It is about taking pictures of others. And yes, I mean taking actual pictures, but more importantly, I mean looking at everything as an opportunity to serve and help others. Take the camera off you. Take the camera off how you look, take the camera off your success, take the camera off what you have done and accomplished. Put the camera on others. Look at each day as an opportunity to help others. Most importantly, put the camera down and use your hands. Love people, serve people, be there for those who are in the darkest hour they have ever faced. Be there for those who are walking through the fire. You don’t have to take a picture to document it.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:2-5, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

That, my friend, says it all. Notice that lovers of their own selves is the first abomination listed. Could it be because when you are a lover of your own self, the pattern for the following abominations begins? I can’t answer that question, but I know that it had to be listed first for a reason. It wasn’t by coincidence.

So, why do I think children are so different today? I believe the main difference is due to a  generation of adults (people my age and older) trying to appear younger than they are, and more relevant, to gain followers, fame, and success. However, these adults are only setting a poor example for the generation some of us are fighting for.

I’m the mom of two teenagers, and I’m in the fight of my life for their hearts, bodies, and souls. But I know, that part of the key, even as I have made mistakes and will make more, is to teach them to take the focus off themselves. Put your focus on others, helping others, honoring others. Help the elderly couple that prayed your momma through some hard times. Love your grandparents who have given you their all. Be a friend to those who need a friend. Get in the trenches with people, even when there is no fame or glory for doing so. Be humble and kind. Thank your family for standing with you. You’ll understand one day.

Now, back to taking pictures. I’m not saying don’t take pictures. But I am saying, don’t take pictures of yourself. Take pictures of others. As the years roll by, you’ll one day want to reminisce and look at some of the faces of those who you helped, those who just might be waiting for you in eternity because you made the difference, caring for them, not for yourself.

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