There was a report on TV regarding 13 year olds and social media. It was fascinating how these early teenagers live most of their lives in this cyber world. Some confess they check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram at least 100 times a day. They obsessively post items and monitor what others say about them. They also monitor the number of people who follow them or write good comments about them. Some, especially girls, post all kinds of pictures to draw attention or followers or admirers. And it is always the more, the better. It is a virtual space for war and struggle for importance, love, and belonging. But the recognition achieved can be so easily lost due to one negative comment by another person, or simply by the lack of admirers. Unfortunately, most parents have no idea of this phenomenon. Often the kids live as if they have two personalities: one in real life and the other in the social media. They may be very shy in real life, but very aggressive in the media. At least there, no one sees them.


After watching that report, I began to see how difficult it is for young people today to grow. They are more and more confronted with a vast world of technology and they feel completely lost, struggling to find themselves in it. That is why the kind of school kids attend is so important. But what is most important is the family, where children learn their self-worth and not depend on the virtual world.


One thing that revealed itself in the report is the drive we all find in ourselves, from the early stage to compete to be somebody. There is nothing wrong with competition. The problem is: which kind of competition are you engaged in? There are two kinds of competition. First, the competition for excellence, when a student applies herself to studies in order to excel; when a business person competes to grow his business and create financial security for his family and staff, and has more for charity; when someone competes to be the best in sports. Competition for excellence is an effort to utilize the talents received from God to become a better person and make the world better. People who compete for excellence realize there is nothing to be arrogant about in their achievements. Through their excellence, they become better servants of God. They serve with what they have received.


But there is also the competition for self-importance. This competition has many names: competition for popularity, for love and admiration; competition for the spotlight; competition to command power over others. It is the competition to be served by others. People engaged in this kind of competition will do anything possible to get what they are looking for. The goal is the applause, admiration, love, popularity obtained from certain behaviors. It is the fiercest competition, which starts from sibling rivalry and continues through life. It is often an emotionally charged competition, and most people engaged in it are rarely happy for a long time because their joy or happiness is dependent on the applause or admiration that comes from outside of them. This is where most people live, and you wonder why there is so much unhappiness. But there is a way out: learn to serve others and not expect to be served. It is the paradox of life: that he who serves freely receives more, and he who seeks to be served, becomes more impoverished. Love is truly received when it is freely given. If you compete for it through jealousy or coercion, you lose it. Only in serving do we find ourselves served! In which competition are you engaged?