Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Rant on the Current Culture of Entitlement

Wow, that sounds like a really essayist-i'm-really-intelligent-published-in-a-journal kinda title, doesn't it?

Basically, I just want to complain about my kids.

So there you go. Currently, the Bunny, (who has a laptop) wants on the desktop computer. Which I had to shoo Hunk O Man away from so I could do my morning thing. Apparently I've been on long enough, and it's her turn. She has a right to the computer.

This is the self-same Bunny who last night was arguing -- rather loudly -- with Rose. They had a dispute over the cell phone, which they share, and over the van, which we all share. Bunny has obtained her driver's license, and is more than willing to go and do for me, which is great. However, she made Rose late for work last night. Rose could have ridden a bike to work, or walked, but she chose to wait for Bunny to return with the van. And she was 5 minutes late. She sees this as Bunny's fault.

As I see it, Bunny could have been on time. And Rose could have avoided being late. Do you think either of them wants to hear these things? Of course not. They are entitled to the things they expect, and bah humbug to anyone who contradicts this.

The other girls are all just laying around the house, and resent being reminded to do chores, or help with something, or fetch something, or basically being spoken to at all.

This irritates me, because it smells of Entitlement. It reeks to high heaven of Entitlement.

We have a little story to illustrate this concept. Perhaps you've heard it:

A man comes to your door one day and hands you $100 bill. He says it is a gift.
You say thank you.
He continues this for the next 30 days.
Then on the 30th day, he goes to your neighbor's door and hands them the $100 bill. You are aghast! Hey! That's YOUR $100 bill! You confront the man!
He reminds you that the $100 bills he has been giving you were gifts.
They were not your right to have.
You blush with shame.
He's right.

My kids each have a laptop, a Gameboy, books we share, a desktop computer we share, a cell phone they share (and can borrow mine anytime), two vehicles we share (for those who drive), and a Gamecube they all share. They also have bikes and a couple of them have portable DVD players and/or iPods.

And yet sometimes I hear, "I'm bored."
The conversation at the dinner the other night consisted of Rose and Bunny once again arguing over the cell phone, the end of which resulted in Rose proclaiming "I need my own cell phone."

I laughed. I remarked to Hunk O Man that I absolutely could not understand how he and I ever survived early life without a cell phone. Of our own.

We followed this with a little family discussion about Entitlement. It hasn't, as yet, had much effect. I also had the same discussion with a couple of my girlfriends up in Indy -- about our kids, and how much they have, and what they expect.

I suppose this is common and has been going on for years -- probably since the days of Adam and Eve. Actually, this very thing may have been what caused the first murder.

And yet it continues. I struggle to teach my children, and remember myself, that I am not entitled to anything. Rather I am privileged to live in a place and time where God is gracious to me, shows me daily His mercies, and where I should be --and often am-- grateful for the next beat of my heart and the next breath in my lungs.

Ah well! Some things never change. Don't be surprised if you see me running from my house, screaming, hands tearing out my hair, on 20/20 sometime in the near future.


Beachy Mimi said...

A really good reminder for ALL us complainers/whiners. Ouch. Thanks.

Mavis D. said...

It is difficult teaching them that they aren't entitled to ANYTHING. As long as I can remember, when we've told our boys to do chores and things around the house and they started whining about it...we would simply say "A man that does not work...does not eat." For some reason that always seemed to work. :)

Our three older boys are usually pretty hard workers. The younger two (6 and 3) are still learning. :)