Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Millenial Generation: Narcissistic?

I heard a speaker at a conference who made the observation that the present generation of young people is the most narcissistic group of people this nation has ever seen. And then he turned to the Baby Boomers in the crowd and said: And you raised them! As a student of history, I dare to differ with him. Even the group of WWII veterans among us commonly referred to as The Greatest Generation have glaring faults. I suppose the younger ones among us are always an easy target, because they still need a few years to learn life lessons that only experience can provide. If the truth be known, people of all generations have the propensity be selfish. Today’s younger generation may not be as bad as we think. During a recent visit to Wal-Mart such a theory was substantiated.
As I exited the store on near the Garden Center, I saw an elderly gentleman laid out on the sidewalk in a really awkward position. I immediately knew something was wrong. I made my way over to him as quickly as I could with sacks full of Valentine goodies!  Two young men, who must have been 19 or 20 years old, beat me to it. My training immediately kicked in, so I was prepared to ask the man if he was hurting anywhere. I wanted to determine if had broken any bones before we attempted to get him off the ground. His two new young friends once again beat me to it. They had him on his feet before I could blink.

By this time his concerned wife, who had gone to get the car, arrived. I feel certain the poor old guy had given up his driving privileges. We made sure he was safely seated in the front seat before going our separate ways. I thanked the two young Samaritans, and headed toward my own vehicle. It occurred to me that in a few years that could be me spread out on the pavement for every Wal-Mart shopper to gawk at. (It has only been in very recent years that such thoughts have crossed my mind!) But mainly I was just grateful for a couple of strong young men, who probably don’t know how to spell narcissistic. And that is perfectly fine, because their actions showed that they are anything but self-absorbed.

Good Samaritans come in all shapes, sizes, and ages too… I am pretty confident that all three of my boys would have stopped to help an elderly person if they were placed in a similar situation. There are a lot of great young people out there. I just hope that I am a good example for them of what serving others is all about. Monday’s Wal-Mart run turned out to be a time when a member of The Greatest Generation just met some really great guys. And they just happened to members of the Millennial Generation that often gets the label of narcissism…

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