The change in the psyche of people has taken years. Most cultures in the world had held God and family as the most sacred values in guiding them. Now most modern people have turned to dedicating their lives to the accumulation of material wealth. Consumerism is the guiding principal of the masses throughout the world. Shopping has become the No. 1 "sport" in most nations.
Hollywood has been the major conversion vehicle for this new religion of consumerism. The stunning homes and hedonistic lifestyles have influenced people all over the world who yearn to be rich and famous, self-absorbed and privileged people.
This propaganda has impacted everyone especially our children. Young adults are forsaking their loved ones to accumulate "vital objects" before they can even consider marriage and definitely before having a family.
Living together became the preferred arrangement. Only after obtaining expensive vehicles, minimally a two-car garage home and designer clothing do couples feel able to consider marriage. At this juncture young adults are older, the infatuation for their partner has worn off and the list of "needed wants" has expanded to further delay taking the plunge into marriage.
The deficiencies of a materialistic lifestyle no longer can be overlooked or denied. The original circle of friends begins to shrink as many have married and started a family. The female's biological clock ticks louder indicating child bearing years are ending.
Every functioning family they encounter points out the emptiness of the purchasing lifestyle. Describing a new TV does not compare with hearing about a child's taking his first steps. They realize they are no longer young and realize they need to end their perennial adolescence. Too many are so addicted to acquiring new things they are not able to make the slightest personal sacrifice to start a family.
Materialism is a major factor for individuals marrying late or having a child, stopping at one or at most two children. They rationalize they want to give their child "everything." This translates into the "best of things" for themselves first and the child next. In other words, they unconsciously bring the child into the world of materialism at a high level that they establish.
The only child or two children in the family will be showered with everything the parent thinks he desires. The child's material standards and expectations are much greater than were the parent's at the same age. The inevitable problem is that since the child is starting at a higher material level than did the parents, the child has to be fed a larger and heavier dosage of goods to receive the same temporary thrills of the purchase.
These young individuals are addicted to instant gratification at a younger age, leaving them more vulnerable to withdrawal when there is an economic downturn or unfortunate accident that downgrades their lifestyle. Their addiction to things rather than healthy family relationships is hard to reverse but is doable.
The cycle of delaying the commitment to starting a family has become more common and acceptable as materialism spreads. The necessary replacement of the population declines as materialism expands. The self-centeredness of the people skyrockets leaving the virtues of the family forgotten.
Young adults should have patience in obtaining all their desires. They should realize that as they mature and gain on-the-job experience their wages will increase. This will improve their purchasing power but too many want it all now.
When two people commit themselves to marriage and having children, they leave behind a lifestyle of self-indulgence. As a spouse and a parent they will suffer through illness and accidents becoming a team. Struggling and caring for a crying infant during sleepless nights shifts the perspective from the self. Caring and loving family relationships teach a person there is more to life than just "things." Loving family relationships create a legacy that is priceless.
The religion of materialism is a spiritual death sentence for a society. Not only to the individual, family and particular nations but to all the civilizations of the world. The survival of humanity will be put into question unless we have a better appreciation of the natural riches of life in the world around us rather than collecting the latest fading fad.
Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.