A co-worker mentioned a recent episode of The Today Show on the subject of college graduates living with their parents. There was a supposed concern over the self-esteem of these young people. The professional opinion stated that our self-esteem comes from money, and since these college grads weren’t making much (or any) money, their self-esteem would necessarily be low. (Let me state that I didn’t see the episode – so the following comments are based on my impression of what my co-worker told me.)
My response is: Self-esteem comes from knowing ourselves to be loved by God, knowing God sees us as valuable. We also need, as physical beings (and sometimes as people who don’t even believe in God), to sense ourselves loved and valued by the people around us – family, friends, and society in general.
Our value should not be based on what we do for a living or on how much money we make. Everybody – even adults and children with serious physical or mental disabilities – has something to contribute to the world. We shouldn’t be made to feel we have to “prove” our value by how much money we make. (Also, the young, the beautiful, the skinny, or the powerful shouldn’t be valued any higher than anyone else.)
We have a responsibility to love and respect our young people. I’m not saying we should let them sit around and be lazy at home just because they don’t have a job. We should help them cultivate their interests and teach them the value of being good, caring, helpful people. My solution is: put them to work around the house (several hours worth of work each day), plus give them time and opportunities to hone whatever God-given gifts they have. Being able to use their gifts will build their self-esteem.
It’s not a hopeless situation. Much good can come out of this time if everyone is patient and open-minded. Let us reflect God’s love onto our young people.