What is it that causes people to think more about self-satisfaction than anything else? Sure, selfishness is a standard human trait: we all have it, we all use it, we all occasionally fall victim to putting it before anyone else's feelings/needs/wants.
Americans tend to open their wallets and hearts only when a major disaster happens, like the Tsunami or Katrina. But the follow through falls short, as though we're a nation of ADHD kids who can't maintain focus on anything important. Volunteerism is down and credit card debt is up: doesn't this say that we're more interested in shopping than helping?
Reality TV is all about selifsh, immature twits who want their 15 minutes of fame regardless of the harm it causes anyone else. Watch that ridiculous show "Bad Girls Club" if you need an example. Wow. Seriously.
So now I'm in my early 30s and disturbingly grateful to my parents for having the balls to say "no" regularly, to teach me to respect others, even when they aren't going to do anything to "improve" my life. To be kind (which I fail at horribly in regular intervals, but I'm trying) and think about someone else before I do something that will damage another's feelings. To be responsible, even though the weight of it sometimes keeps me up at night with worry.
There are times now that I don't really want to consider myself to be an adult, but I've gotten to the point that I accept that I'm responsible for my life and how I live it. Today, that makes me feel old.