I am not a big fan of attitude tees or of teaching kids to have attitudes in general. I do not think it is cute or funny. There are a few sayings that really get under my skin and the number one offender is It’s all about me (IAAM). When I see a little girl in a shirt with this saying on it, I want to pull her mom aside and ask her what her daughter means by this. What is all about her? Everything? Who told her this? What does IAAM look like in action? I am troubled by the number of self-centered kids I see and hear about. Correction, I am troubled by the number of parents creating self-centered kids. What are they thinking?
I teach my kids to serve others and not to think too highly of themselves. I try to model this with my own behavior, although, just like you, I am imperfect and make mistakes. I try to show them that love and service must not, and can not, be driven by selfish desires. I do not buy them whatever they want and our family does not revolve around them and their activities and desires. Sometimes we eat in restaurants they do not like and take vacations to places they did not choose. I also use that dirty word so many kids hate so much: no!
When we teach our kids that it’s all about them, we do them a severe disservice. Not only that, we also do our communities a severe disservice. When a child who was raised with the IAAM mentally leaves their parents’ homes (if they ever actually do), they are sure to get quite the wake-up call. They will find themselves ill equipped for a life of self-sufficiency. They will not be able to cope with disappointment and will not be able to live a contented and satisfied life. This also hurts our communities because the schools, legal system, and mental health system have to deal with the the problems the IAAM mentally creates. We all know adults who think the world revolves around them and that kind of attitude almost always starts in childhood.
Everyone likes to spoil their child from time to time and everyone loves their moments in the sun. But it is important to remember that having a child-centered home does not develop children who are happy, productive, or nice to be around. Why not have a family that operates as a unit? Why not have a family-centered home? This teaches children that they are part of something larger than themselves. It teaches them that the needs of others often come first. It teaches healthy self-sacrifice and the serving of others.
Parents should sacrifice for their children. Mothers and fathers make many adjustments to their own lives when children enter it. Putting your children’s best interests and needs ahead of your own is commendable and regularly necessary. But that is not the same as putting their wants ahead of everything else. Putting your kids’ needs first often means telling them no. I am saddened and incredulous every time I see a shirt, bumper sticker, or anything else with It’s All About Me printed on it. If you are raising your kids with this philosophy, I implore you to reconsider. What are you teaching them by making them the center of the universe? How will that translate into their adult lives? What will this perspective mean to their future spouse and children? Are you setting your child up for success or failure?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4