Last week a group of sorority girls got outed on national television when they were caught obsessively checking their smartphones and taking selfies at an Arizona Diamondbacks game. It seems a fitting epigram for the photos and videos of the incident would be “Selfie Nation.”
Yet if we are being honest with ourselves, haven’t we always been a Selfie Nation, at least in the last several decades? Ask yourself the following:
Have you ever walked by a glass window and turned to check yourself out in the reflection?
In a conversation with someone, do you wait, barely listening for the other person to finish talking, so that you can have your say?
Does the sight of your photo or name in print, or your appearance on the sports arena Jumbotron, give you a thrill?
From a young age, we seek attention. “Mommy, Mommy, look at me!” we cry as we slide down the slide, get up on skates, or learn to tie our shoes. We even misbehave to get our parents’ attention. Admit it. Worse than getting yelled at is to be ignored, frozen out by our loved ones.
This blog, in fact, is my way of saying to the world, “Here I am! Listen to me.” It is my way of being seen.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to overcome our tendency to think mostly about ourselves. I have found that when I am engaged in doing things with and for others, I am happiest and most fulfilled. For example, when my children were young, I loved helping out at the preschool. The morning would just fly by as I helped little hands complete an art project or listened to a four-year-old tell me a story.
Indeed, the girls from Alpha Chi Omega sorority probably would have gotten more for their ticket money by enjoying the game, the weather, and their conversation with each other.
Yet there is hope for our Selfie generation. After the girls were mocked by announcers on national TV, the Arizona Diamondbacks organization offered the sorority free tickets to a future game. Instead, the Alpha Chis asked that the Diamondbacks donate free tickets to A New Leaf, a local organization that supports victims of domestic violence, which is the focus of Alpha Chi Omega’s national philanthropy.
I guess we are not so self-obsessed after all.