I spent my tween and teen years in an affluent area in Southern California that is routinely mocked by the media for its shallowness and skewed priorities. I quickly became a product of the mental environment around me and fell easily into the role of material girl and label baby.
When I graduated from high school I did not get a car.... that's because I got a shiny new Italian sports car the day I turned 16. Instead, I received a summer-long trip to Europe as a graduation gift. A number of school friends thought I was crazy to miss all the parties of our last pre-college Summer together in order to go globe-trotting.
That was the beginning of my realization that in some way I yearned for more out of life than could be found in the Louis Vuitton section of Neiman Marcus. I wanted quality.... of thought, not just footwear.
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The frustrated tweeters who feel 'dissed' by their benefactors, whose posts are included in the screenshots featured here, represent what I hope is a minority sector of society's youth. Of course, we are all responsible for defining our own priorities, but I can't help but wonder how many of the attitudes expressed in those ungrateful tweets are a by-product of the environment in which these people live, whether in their families, schools, or just as part of a consumerist society.
How can we combat and cure such misguided, unhealthy, odious attitudes? I may not be able to sit each of these individuals down to chat with them about the meaning of life, but I can do my best to set an example of gratitude and self-worth. And if I do my job well enough, perhaps I will inspire someone to do a little soul searching of their own so that they may find the rich rewards of prioritizing things like random kindness, patience, and giving to others less fortunate. And what a gift should they find that in so doing their heart grows a size... or three.
I am very thankful for what I 'got' this Christmas, which in my case was not 'stuff', but opportunities to express a spirit of giving from a heart overflowing with love and gratitude. And I hope to score even more of such treasure next year.