Thursday, May 13, 2010

ENTITLEMENT


Let's all feel sorry for "HUNGRY." She's a cute little girl who each morning comes to class and says she doesn't have any food to eat at home and mom drops her off at school too late to get the free breakfast offered in the cafeteria. "LOVING TEACHER" then gives her part of her own lunch (a yogurt) to tide her over. The other children are also sympathetic and offer her a cookie, or a bag of chips.

This continues for a number of days until "LOVING TEACHER" decides it's time to call in the parents. Come to find out, "HUNGRY" gets to school in plenty of time to have the cafeteria breakfast, but just "doesn't like it" (choices: cereal, egg burrito, toast, fruit) and would rather have yogurt instead. I also find out that she has not been offered food by her friends, but has been threatening them for their food. Mom says, "The key word here is, FREE, and you will eat it. I am not spending our vacation and bingo money when you can get breakfast here for FREE." I would have felt embarrassed to have begged for food from my friends and my parents wouldn't have taken anything FREE, even if it were offered, when they had enough at home. "HUNGRY" has learned well from her mother, who apparently feels ENTITLED herself.

Children (and adults) seem to feel ENTITLED to everything, without having to work for it. ENTITLED to a large home, even if we can't afford it. ENTITLED to no blame....Whoever is at fault, it isn't us. ENTITLED to piles of presents and if the coolest thing isn't there, we are ENTITLED to complain. ENTITLED to better lives and someone else is to blame for their lot in life.

Along with ENTITLEMENT we have become fluent in the language of blame and complaint and lost our ability to use "Please," "Thank you," and "I'm sorry." We are not personally responsibility for our part in conflicts. "It's my fault," is never said.

ENTITLEMENT means that we have a right or a claim to something, whether it's the best car, an amazing home, or the name brand clothes, whether we can afford it or not.

How exactly has this come about? Is it the fault of high self-esteem, freedom of speech, consumerism, being the world's superpower? I'm not sure, but I do know that it is tightly connected to a BIG ego. We have begun putting ourselves above others and life is taken for granted.

As a child, I knew I had a bed to sleep in, food to eat (whatever Mom prepared), toys (from my birthday and Christmas), clothes on my back (whatever Mom could afford), a healthy fear of God and Santa Claus, a good education and a loving family. These things were all provided for by the hard work of my parents and you were not "ENTITLED" to anything, but which they chose to give you. If you had an attitude about it, those things would quickly disappear. If you didn't take care of that which they had given you and it was lost or broken, you had to wait until your next birthday or Christmas to have it replaced (maybe). Your lot in life was up to you and blaming others was a sin. If you didn't do your chores (which were expected not paid for by an allowance) then you were confined to the house and had no access to the phone or tv for weeks. "Please" and "Thank You" were the first things out of your mouth. If you wanted more, you got a job and then asked if you could spend the money you earned on what you wanted.

ENTITLEMENT is running rampant in this country and the next generation will have a hard time overcoming it unless we, the adults, make children understand their position in life (as children....which means, not the ones in charge) and put a stop to it.

5 comments:

Mountain Girl said...

Isn't that the truth????!!!!!

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...

WORD! I hope that girl gets grits for breakfast. (No offense to you grits lovers, they just aren't for me.) :-)

Jill said...

Great post Tracey! I firmly believe this is part of what is becoming a HUGE downfall to our society. Sad isn't it?

Jacksmom said...

No kidding. I guess this wouldn't be the most PC thing to hand out to my patient's parents who always have their hands out huh???

Headless Mom said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to get here to comment on this...

You're so right. I try so hard with my kids so they won't have that 'sense of entitlement', and it's really, really hard in the neighborhood that we live in. Luckily they are learning!