Sunday, January 27, 2013


Being sick for a week has it's advantages. I had the opportunity to read one of Spencer's assigned texts for his Sociology class and it was actually really interesting.

The book is titled Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, with a subtitle- "Why Today's Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled- and More Miserable Than Ever Before". Nothing like a good positive grab line to get my attention.

It takes thousands of pieces of data, statistics from the 50's to 2006, and analyzes what it says about the growth and development of people born from the late 70's to 2000. Way too much information to try and condense it for a blog, but very much recommend it for those raising kids now, or born in that period. The findings made me really look at the way I see the world, myself and the people I love. Lots to laugh about, while still helping readers recognize some of the negative trends-and ideas on how to combat it.

In regards to the over emphasis on self esteem and individuality, the author quotes something Ellen DeGeneres said on her t.v. show that epitomizes the focus of this age group's beliefs: "The most important thing is how you feel and being happy." It's so easy to recite this doctrine when you grew up in "Generation Me". But as the book continues, the statistics don't lie- "Only 1-2% of Americans born before 1915 experienced a major depressive episode during their lifetimes, even though they lived through the Great Depression and two world wars. Today, the lifetime rate of major depression is ten times higher- between 15-20%...In one 1990's study, 21% of teens aged 15-17 had already experienced major depression."

Apparently, focusing on our feelings and trying to "be happy" is getting this generation no where.

The last chapter gives ways for parents and young people to apply the findings and it was my favorite part, because each tip lines up so completely with The Bible. It always encourages me (and amazes me) that God's Word applies just as clearly today, as it did thousands of years ago. Statistical evidence and scientific research continues to point to an All Knowing, All Powerful God who has our best interest at heart. Love that!
(I want so much for her to grow up with grace and wisdom.)
I crawled into bed the other night thinking of myself, and before I knew it...Steve was laughing at the basketball game, Jazz was cuddling up next to me, Jo was playing the drums on Brielle to get her to wiggle around, and Spence was laying there flopping like a dead fish to make us all bounce. Thinking about Generation Me, and looking at these "GenMe'ers", I couldn't help but praise God for family. One of the biggest reasons the author found that this Group is more depressed and anxious then ever before is that:
"It's almost as if we are starving for affection...we're malnourished from eating a junk-food diet of instant messages, emails, and phone calls rather than the healthy food of live, in-person interaction". No starvation around here- we can't get away from each other even when we TRY.

Bottom line, we need each other and it's far more important than our self focus. And I am so thankful God never ceases to remind me that.

Here's a taste of the tips she gave young people in combating some of the pitfalls she experienced in her 20's. (And I couldn't help but add the Scriptures that came to mind as I read them. If a teenager ever tells you God doesn't get this generation and the Bible is out of date, tell them they are dead wrong. He understood them BEFORE the statistics backed Him up. )

For Young People (Taken from page 238-241 of Generation Me.)
* Limit your exposure to certain kinds of TV. "Avoid shows that detail the extravangant homes and cars of wealthy celebrities. They're tremendously entertaining...but you see all of the things that you'll probalby never have. Avoid overexposing yourself to the lifestlyes of the lucky few and look around you in real life- there are probably plenty of people with less than you."
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
* Avoid overthinking. " is linked to an elevated risk of depression. Talking it over with a friend is a far better solution. You're still considering your problems, but sharing them with someone else unburdens you enough to stop overthinking."
"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." Proverbs 12:25

* Value social relationships. "You are going to be much happier if you make the extra effort needed to see friends and family. You are going to hear a lot of people tell you that being alone is great, because of the old self-esteem mantra. But...People who have good relations with others- partners, family, friends- are happier and less depressed than other people."
" Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Thessalonians 5:11

*Combat depression naturally. "I have already mentioned the first two- socializing and not overthinking. You are also less likeyl to feel depressed if you: (1) get enough sleep (2) expose yourself to sunlight for at least an hour a day (3) exercise regularly, and (4) eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids. (Disclaimer: The study the author used for these findings isn't against medication, it was just saying that for "a lot of people [drugs] don't work- and if they do, it's short term. Relapse is a huge issue. So, if you can achieve superior results long term without medication, the advantage seems pretty clear." Steve Ilardi, University of Kansas)

*Cultivate realistic expectations. "Have realistic goals rather than believing you should "follow your dreams" no matter what."
" He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

*Get involved in your neighborhood and community. "The fulfillment that GenMe seeks might be found in helping other people. It's one of the best ways to find deeper meaning in life and build those true relationships that are otherwise so hard to find."
" You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, SERVE ONE ANOTHER humbly in love." Galatians 5:13

Turn on your Kindle and get this book. It's worth it.
And if you have a chance, read this blog post of a GenMe'er, my amazing daughter (30 Days) , who made a decision based on instant gratification and self focus, and now is paying the cost. It's encouraging to see though, that she has now moved forward enough to see that even though she is a "product" of this generation, she doesn't have to continue in the errors. She really can choose to take the best attributes of Generation Me- independence, openness and intelligence, and meld them with the desire to serve rather than seek her own pleasure. And she can still find fulfillment. I kind of think she rocks.

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