People are constantly striving to better themselves. Whether in the workplace, through education, or in social standing, we always seem to to be reaching for the next rung on the ladder to the top. We all have goals that we would like to attain in life. In many respects, there is nothing wrong with this philosophy, but then again, there is something terribly wrong.
We are constantly bombarded with assumptive language and suggestions that imply (implicitly or otherwise) that we have the right to have an “it’s all about ME” mentality. As adults, most of us have the life experience to discern when these influences suggest we look out for number one. Adults have the wisdom to decide the proper course of action.In some form or fashion, we are perpetually being told that we need to find ourselves by selfishly seeking personal gain to the detriment of others.
As I’ve stated, adults have (or should have) the wisdom to tell when they are being influenced toward selfish intent. Nevertheless, our children are not wise enough or experienced enough to make this decision for themselves. This is why parents must educate their children against these influence. Instead of allowing the world to teach our children to find themselves the “all about ME” mentality, we need to teach our kids to lose themselves for the betterment of our society.
How do we lose ourselves, you might ask. Why would we even want to do that? Losing ourselves is not a call to abandon our goals or the pursuit of our dreams. It is a call to serve something or someone beyond ourselves. Ask yourself this simple question: which scenario provides an individual a greater sense of satisfaction- material gain or giving back to others? Studies show that more favorable an individual feels towards performing an action, the more likely he or she will follow through with doing that action. This is the message we should be delivering to our children. Studies also show that people gain more satisfaction from giving of themselves with no expectation of receiving something in return that by merely accumulating material possessions and worldly status and success.
Servant Leadership is a concept that I believe in and work to practice in my daily walk. This is also the message that Adi and I work to exemplify in our home. Servant leadership is best defined by Robert Greenleaf in his essay entitled The Institution as Servant. He said:
” This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them.”
This is a powerful statement and a massively awesome responsibilty for parents. Personally, I will continue to accept this challenge for me and my home. I will continue to man up and lose myself in this sense for the betterment of our world. Will you?
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