In the Eighties, Madonna sang: “We are living in a material world and I am a material girl!

In this Capitalist Society, I wonder have things progressed since we all sang along to this mantra?

With the mass media promoting fast cars, big houses, the latest gadget and designer product, is this still how we measure success? In the Eighties, the so-called “Yuppies” carried this new innovation called a ‘mobile phone’ and even though they were as big as a house brick, the nation swooned at these images. These individuals were the image of success.

I wonder with #mentalhealth, have we really moved on from this image of success?

What messages are we actually sending to our young people?

When exam results are due, we see Headteachers send progressive messages to pupils emphasising that they are so much more than their grades. However, this seems very hollow after the children will have been conditioned all year by the blatant and subliminal messages given throughout the year that their whole lives depended on doing well in these exams. In fact, in the age of league tables and Ofsted inspections, schools are literally measured against these results.

Children learn very quickly how they are viewed in a system that ranks them with regard to academic milestones; our young people can feel like failures very early on in their lives. This can then lead to further failure and underachievement.

When I asked the Love Tutoring Community: ‘What does success mean to you?’, many answers had nothing to do with materialistic measures or qualifications. @SarahLogan said: “Happiness with oneself and good relationships”.

Do our young people get this message? How likely would they be to give such an answer?

@JuliaSilver said it was about “growth and flow”.

I wonder how the adults, who have learnt that success is so much more than financial gains and the intelligence which you are deemed to possess by others, can truly pass this wisdom onto our young people? I would say we need a society that truly values individuals for their individuality and not one that promotes fitting into a pre-determined measure of a person’s value.

Our view of success needs to be widened to allow children to follow the path that makes them happy. We may then have a more successful society.  

What do you think?

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