Growing up, I was told I was selfish, a lot. In my head this didn’t make sense. I was always doing things for other people outside my house, but I was missing something. I rarely thought about how my actions impacted the people I lived with, my parents.
I am recently married and the word selfish has taken a whole new meaning. While of course we try to put each other first, at the end of the day we are just two selfish and imperfect people doing our best. We can’t be selfish in our old ways, if we don’t do the chores they don’t get done. If we don’t cook, we don’t eat! Selfish, however, is much more than just our actions, it’s the lens in which we view the world.
Maybe you think your kids are selfish and I would say most likely, they probably are. The idea of thinking about others ahead of ourselves is complex and grows with maturity. Attempting to see the world through someone else’s point of view is even harder. Now maybe your kids don’t do the dishes or clean up their room. Maybe they don’t share or include their other siblings. At the end of the day they’re kids. There is however another type of selfish we should be concerned about.
Our natural desire is to be very inward focused. We only see the world through our perception of it. If we do something bad, it’s our fault but if someone does something bad to us it’s our fault too. We think every situation is all about us, when in reality it’s not.
If someone snaps at me after a bad day, is it my fault?
If someone sits at another table at lunch is it because of me?
If someone doesn’t wave at me at the supermarket is it because they don’t like me?
No! Sometimes we get tired, we choose to sit with other friends or simply just don’t see people. We need to teach our kids (and ourselves) that the only thing we can control is our own actions and the way we react to other people’s. We want to shift the notion of blame (my fault, their fault) into acceptance and understanding of circumstances. Even more importantly we need to understand and teach our kids that in life, not everyone will like us and that’s ok. If someone doesn’t like you it doesn’t mean you have any less worth or that you are any less important or special. We need to stop playing the personal blame game.
Why are we so selfish with our thoughts? It’s because we have a natural want to be accepted and we will try almost anything to achieve it. Finding acceptance and worth is a never ending challenge of life.
My aim is to tell our students that our acceptance does not come from external circumstances. Our hope comes from knowing we are accepted by Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
That sounds pretty special to me. Now wouldn’t it be rather selfish to think otherwise? To think that I am less than what God has told me I am. I know I am accepted by God and being accepted anywhere else is a bonus.
Mrs Sam McNeil / Chaplain