Thursday, January 27, 2005
Dropping the Drama
Drama is a word that is used much too often today. T-shirts and other merchandise proclaiming "Drama Queen" can be spotted at any mall, both on the racks and on the shoppers. Young girls often boast that the name fits them, and then they exhibit the behavior to prove it. Males are not completely exempt from this behavior, although it seems to be found more often in females. Parents can be heard applying the epithet to their offspring. Are these harmless jests, or is there more to it?
The current context in which "drama" is being used refers to an excessive focus on self. A "drama queen" takes petty things too seriously and pays no attention whatsoever to the things in life that really matter. Keeping the focus on one's self feeds the ego. A well-fed ego is displayed in pride. Pride is something we are warned about in God's Word as being evil; it is considered one of the "seven deadly sins" that anyone should try to avoid.
We speak often to children about getting our "feelings" hurt. The feeling that is getting hurt in that instance is pride. If someone "hurts my feelings," I have to assume that my pride is what is actually being offended (since there is no accompanying physical wound). My personal opinion is that if I have pride regarding the matter at hand, then it needs to be removed -- so go ahead and let me have it.
When I was a young girl (probably early high school age), the retired couple next door worked at a group home for troubled children. They were the "relief" parents and alternated between the boys' cottage and the girls' cottage, filling in while the regular staff took time off each week. One day, after a particularly trying weekend, the older gentleman gave me a few words of sage advice that have stuck with me my entire life: "Grow up to be a boy, not a girl." He quickly went on to explain his thoughts, probably due to the extreme confusion on my face. He said the girls they worked with would become upset at the least offense and held grudges for days or weeks, sometimes months. The boys were quite the opposite; he could reprimand one of the boys for the most serious rules infraction, and five minutes later, that boy would still be his best friend. His simple advice to me was to drop the drama and get on with life -- do not take myself too seriously.
A Drama Queen is probably feeding her self-obsession from all the wrong sources: television soap operas and drama series, movies lacking admirable characters and a worthwhile plot, "romance" novels, and song lyrics and music videos devoted to self, self, self. Take inventory of what your pre-teens and early teens are reading, watching, and listening to. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, "Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." [New Living Translation] Just as we say with nutrition: you are what you eat -- if "junk food" is consumed into our brains, we can only expect the same to come forth from our emotions.
Encouraging dramatic behavior in ourselves or in our children does no good for anyone. It maintains an over-emphasis on self, instead of looking for how we can serve others, as Jesus advocated and modeled for us. The popular "What Would Jesus Do?" evaluation can help us tremendously in straightening out our priorities. Reading the original In His Steps by Charles Sheldon can be a wonderful dose of perspective for anyone (children's versions are now available). We need to explain this same principle to our children as they are growing up: we should show them how to help others and how to reach out to others to keep them from focusing continually on themselves. If you live in America today, you are extremely wealthy, compared to nearly anywhere else on the planet -- no matter who you are or what you own. Find someone else to focus on, volunteer to help with a community or church outreach, and stop thinking the world revolves around you. Drop the drama and get on with life.
Posted by Carolyn M @ 11:03 AM |