Warning: A bit of a rant ahead….
It’s become super important to me to raise children that don’t have entitlement issues. I see it in adults and it’s so ugly and so unattractive. Nothing pretty comes from blaming someone else for a situation you find yourself in.
It’s never one person’s fault where you end up – you are always a part of the equation and entitlement, whether legit or not, will sabotage your life. Okay that sounds pretty harsh, but I believe that. This could be me whining, but it feels like it is probably more challenging to raise adults today than it used to be. By adults, I mean grown ups that know how to live life as a responsible independent.
There’s a lot of entitlement going on and it’s getting confused with empowerment. I know that being selfish is a quality that every kid has. I think it’s a requirement of growing up – like a survival thing. But, once you become an adult and you mature, you learn how to survive and you start to create your own destiny. If you’re lucky, you learn the most empowering gift, which is to be responsible for yourself. Regardless of the nice boyfriend who wants to buy you a fancy necklace, it’s not something you are entitled to, but rather a nice gift. But, sometimes I look around and it feels like we are more of an entitlement generation than ever before. “I’ve had the iPhone 5 for so long, I’m entitled to the newer version!” “I’ve been at home with the kids all day long, I’m entitled to a massage and new jeans! Who’s going to give it to me?!” “My computer is so slow! I can’t work like this. I need a better one! I’m entitled!” Are so many adults, who are supposed to be mature and responsible for their own lives, so entitled that kids see that as the way to be? Uh oh…
I see kids complaining that they’ve been without their device for an hour because someone else was using a charger and they have no power. They “deserve” the charger. I see people suing restaurants because a hair was found in their food and they are suffering severe damages for it and are entitled to a huge lump sum of money. Come on!
I get it. Uncharged phone is inconvenient. Hair in your food is gross. But, why so much entitlement? Why so much of a taker attitude? You will never receive if you only take. Today, more kids feel entitled to get a new car because they turned 16. They feel entitled to have a new technological device every birthday, holiday or anything that “gives them the right” to receive gifts. People feel entitled to more pay and less work at their jobs. People feel entitled for someone else to support their lifestyle and pay their bills – whether it’s parents or even an ex spouse they chose not to be with anymore.
Society relies heavily on instant gratification. “If she has it, so should I.” Nothing ever becomes enough, there must be more because I “deserve” more. It’s as if entitlement has become an epidemic in America.
The worry for me is that it makes for a lazy adult. The kind of person that won’t work hard. The kind of person that has a messy life because they don’t want to clean up any of their own messes. They want everything handed to them because they deserve it. They will not work for what they need and want, but will instead manipulate a plea of why they have a right to it and why someone else (not themselves) needs to give it to them. It’s the “everyone else is responsible to make sure I’m ok, but not me” mentality. The kind of adult that feels entitled seems to make poor choices and A LOT of excuses and while we all make poor choices or excuses at some point or another, the entitlement puts a barrier up to the lesson that can be learned from making a bad choice or excuse. I’m all about my children failing and making bad choices. I encourage it – IF they are going to learn from it. Not if they think that because they hit a rough patch, but are a decent person, they are now entitled to a break. It’s taking the rough patch and learning from it that counts. That’s what turns them into the responsible, self-sufficient adult. It’s not just about a man being responsible and self-sufficient. It’s women too. It’s especially women. It’s wonderful to feel taken care of, but ultimately you need to care of you first. Entitled people seem genuinely unhappy and vindictive to me. It’s such a happier place to be in when you earn something. When you have the “giving” mentality rather than the “taking” mentality.
With whatever influence I have, I aim to raise my children to become adults that take responsibility for themselves and the choices they make. Sometimes those choices don’t yield the ideal situation, but what a lesson it is and what maturity it is to take responsibility for those choices. A bad choice leading to a bad experience does not entitle or make you deserving, it simply gives you a gift that you can choose to grow from and make a better choice next time.
I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on this!