For those who haven’t seen it in the news, the pro golfer Phil Mickelson travelled across the country this week to attend his daughter’s 8th grade graduation less than 24 hours before his tee time at the U.S. Open.
Let’s start with this declaration:
There are only two graduations - highschool and college. Everything else is bull$#!%.
Okay, maybe Phil gets a pass because he is an omni-travelling athlete who probably doesn’t see his kids much, but every other parent in attendance at that graduation is going to hell.
Why? Because the Modern Parents are creating a generation of narcissists.
Over the last 20 years, it has become a sign of great parenting if you continually put your child on a pedestal. Praise your child’s every word, every action, every bowel movement. It’s critical.
If you don’t, then clearly you don’t love your child (at least not as much as the parents who subscribe to this child worship). Consequently, it is no longer sufficient for a child to simply pass the third grade and move on to the fourth. It must be treated as a grand accomplishment and celebrated. So we now see pre-school graduations, kindergarten graduations, 3rd grade graduations, 8th grade graduations, high school graduations, and college graduations (and I’ll guarantee there are communities that have graduation ceremonies for every grade).
What do you think this continual idolization does to the mind of a child?
It warps it. Child worship turns your sweet little precious into a narcissistic #$%hole adult who thinks the world revolves around him (or her). When all of your life’s actions revolve around revolving around your child, you send a very powerful message that your child picks up on - I am the most important person, the only important person, in this world. So important that my parents will drop everything to attend the umpteenth celebration of my greatness. Work, shmork. Get your ass to my middle-of-the-day 4th grade art show to see how I glued macaroni to a rock.
And if you are a manager at your job, you know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve experienced the consequences of this sort of child rearing, and you are experiencing it at an ever-increasing rate. The first-year employee who can’t believe he wasn’t consulted about your company’s major strategic shift. The analyst who can’t comprehend how she isn’t being promoted after only two years on the job. The junior employee whose mom calls because he has been mistreated in some way.
And I’m not talking about self-involved teenagers. All teenagers throughout human history have been self-involved. I’m talking about 24-year-old adults. You know, people who are supposed to have moved out of the “me, me, me” egotism that defines early childhood. These self-entitled narcissists, who did not exist 50 years ago, are entering the workforce in droves because they have been raised in a culture that treats them as number one and everyone else as a distant number six.
Remember, we have one job on this earth as parents - turn our children into the next generation of adults that is at least as good as ours. Part of doing this is showing them that there are other people on this planet whose needs are greater than theirs, and that only the best of what they do (or try to do) is worthy of praise.
It’s the least we can do for our children.