Wednesday, January 24, 2007

American Youth: Wealth before Character?

According to a January 23, 2007 by Martha Irvine, Associated Press National Writer, "new polls find that the obsession with material things is growing – and that being rich is more important to today's young people than in the past."

The article quotes statistics stating that 80 percent of 18-25 year-olds in America see getting rich as a top goal for their generation. Conversely, a very small percentage of youth believe helping the needy and being a leader in their community is important.

Ann Fishman, a generational marketing consultant in New Orleans states in the article, "For young people, a cell phone is normal, an iPod is normal; a Game Boy is normal."

Psychologist Jean Twenge states, "There are alot of young people hitting 25 who are making, say, $35,000.00 a year, who expected they'd be millionaires or at least making six figures. We tell them they are special and can achieve anything but their finding out it's not true."

One philosophy that responds to this "hyper-focus" on materialism is the California University of Pennsylvania Institute. This philosophy was initiated In response to a report from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education urging the systems universities to give increased attention to values during the 1990's. The university commitment to values has been reflected in numerous ways including the adoption of civility, integrity and responsibility as its core values and the general education requirement that all students take one course from a values menu.

Visit the California University of Pennsylvania Institute

Read Martha Irvine's AP article

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