|Is this sense of "entitlement" a global problem? I tend to believe it is only evident in some cultures, mainly economically prosperous countries.|
Following is a letter form the editor taken from a BFS web update I recieved awhile back. It was written by Kim Goss, editor of BFS Magazine and also director of a Poliquin Center in Rhode Island. While I wouldn't call myself a "disciple" of either BFS or Poliquin,(or any other "system" for that matter) I have to admit that both have influenced me a great deal over the years in a positive way. I like what they do. Kim Goss has been one of the more prolific strength training writers over the past several decades. His work has been published in a wide variety of settings about a diverse range of topics. His backround includes competitive weightlifting as well as being a strength and conditioning coach. I first met him in that capacity at the Airforce Academy in the mid 80's. Airforce arguably has one of the best S&C programs in the country and it shows, as their teams are always very competitive with undersized, but disciplined athletes .Anyway, here is Kim Goss's take on the state of today's youth. As usual, I will insert some comments....
"I’ve had the opportunity to interview many coaches and physical education instructors with two and even three decades invested in their careers. I have been coaching and teaching for 35 years now.During these interviews I like to ask, “How are the kids today different from the kids you worked with when you started?” Some of these educators, especially those at smaller schools who often see their kids through 12 years of education, say, “Not at all.”I have definitely seen changes. Although they are not all bad, I am very concerned about our youth today Others say, “There are more distractions today, and many students don’t seem as motivated as their predecessors were to excel to the highest levels in sports or academics.” I agree. There are certainly more distractions. I see a polarizing effect. The top students are better than ever, while the low end students are worse than ever. Unfortunately, I think the median has shifted downward in both academics and athletics. Good answers, but there is one disturbing personality trait I’ve seen that characterizes many young people today – narcissism.Hillbilly that I am, I had to look that word up. After all, I am a PE major who never got to go to college, I went to BYU instead. (I'm allowed to make BYU jokes, but I don't tolerate it from anyone else!!!)Narcissism is a complex mental health condition, but a simple definition is that it is a personality disorder in which an individual overestimates their talents and is obsessed with the need for admiration. It’s not about being self-confident but more about having an ego that is so overinflated that a person has a sense of entitlement. There is definitely an increased sense of entitlement that is prevalent. It makes those who are devoid of it really stand out all the more. Think of the “Sharpay Evans” character Ashley Tisdale played in the High School Musical movies – that’s narcissism. ??? I don't have TV in my home. Smartest move we made. Our kids learned how to do things instead of just watching others do things.
While Sharpay is a relatively harmless character who believes her destiny is to be famous, narcissism is not a condition to be taken lightly. To back up this statement, I would refer you to a fascinating book on this subject called The Narcissism Epidemic, by Jean M. Twenge, PhD, and W. Keith Campbell, PhD (Free Press, 2009).
The authors point out that narcissism is harmful to the person displaying this behavior, because when they fail to achieve the goals they feel entitled to, they can experience serious depression. Narcissism can also harm others, as the narcissist’s obsession with their own self-worth can seem to justify treating others poorly. It also affects society in general, as these individuals can engage in behaviors that become a burden on society. Are we talking about the NFL or the NBA here?How prevalent is narcissism? The authors found that in tests that measure narcissism, scores are higher today than they have been in previous decades. In one major study of college students, one out of four students tested as having narcissistic traits. With high school students, the authors report that one out of every three seniors are “completely satisfied with themselves,” compared to one out of four in 1975. And there is also evidence that middlschool students are also displaying higher levels of inflated egos compared to their predecessors in the
The authors suggest that one possible cause of narcissism is the self-centeredness caused by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites. But one point the authors make that really caught my attention is that “young people didn’t raise themselves. They got these narcissistic values from somewhere, often from their parents or media messages created by older people.” We're on to something there. Kids are born the same way today they always were, naked. If teenagers act different today, there must be a reason. Personally, I think the influence of professional athletes is the biggest influence on our younger athletes. The selfish antics that are glorified by the media trickle down to even the lowest levels. That is one reason that I enjoy coaching track and weightlfiting. The lack of media exposure for both sports is often lamented, but maybe there is an upside. Maybe the lack of really big money for most of these athletes prevents the spawning of the entitlement attitude and the low level of exposure insulates against this narcissism complex. It is my observation that less youngsters are willing to put forth the effort to participate in lifting or track, but those who do are generally the hardest working and most coachable kids. I am afraid that as the years go by, less and less kids will be willing to put forth the effort required for success in these physically demanding, but low recognition sports.
|No sense of "entitlement" in evidence here!|