This was originally posted in December of last year, but as I left the department store, this was on my mind again. I wonder why?
I know, I should be posting on all our wonderful Christmas plans, traditions we have begun, and the REAL reason of the season, but something has been on my heart for a while and frankly, all my friends around here are probably tired of me ranting about it. So, I thought I would share with my blog friends. I know, The Park Wife on her soapbox again! Just indulge me, it is the holiday season. Oh wait, indulge…that is exactly what I want to talk about.
As the holiday season approached, I was in several stores and overheard many conversations between parents and children, heard many tantrums in the aisles over not getting what the kids/teens wanted, and so many more things that disturbed me about the generation we are raising. It seems that young Americans in this day and age have a sense of entitlement that far exceeds those of previous generations. Where did this come from? How do I, as a mom who is trying to raise men of Godly character, guard against getting sucked into this? How do I, myself, guard against feeling this way?
Going into debt to buy Christmas gifts, making sure they have the latest fashions and gadgets just like their friend Suzie, making sure they get to play in a game the same amount of time as the other kids, oh the list goes on! We are hurting our children and society as a whole. We are not allowing our children to develop character. Instead we are raising kids who can not cope and have unrealistic expectations about life.
We are sending the message that they deserve things for facing adversity. They feel entitled to getting things because their parents feel guilty. Believe it or not, children are very intuitive to our motives and learn how to manipulate at an early age, hence the tantrums in Wal-Mart, and absurd demands for large sums of money as a reward for doing nothing.
When I was young, we "tried out" for the school athletic teams. And only the best made it on. That's as it should be (and I'm sorry for the folks who are clumsy or otherwise unable to play sports well... but God gave you a separate set of gifts). Nowadays, everyone is "entitled" to play. In real life, the professional teams don't take everyone that tries out. We aren't rewarding excellence in those children who do exceptionally well at something (whether it's chess club, drama, sports or whatever). If we don't reward excellence, then why should anyone pursue it?
This does not just pertain to the 8-year-old in the electronics store not getting the latest greatest gadget or the kid on the soccer team who never showed up for practice and only a few games, but got a trophy for their “hard work and determination” during the season. I have heard repeatedly from many friends and family out in the workforce that workplaces are poisoned with attitudes and entitlement. Many adults whimper at the slightest inconvenience, delay, or restriction. Why? Because, like toddlers, they are convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. They are accustomed to being served and do not know what real hard work is. They are never satisfied and do not understand why they are not being recognized for their minimal effort work. Where is their trophy for showing up? And, constructive criticism is not an option, their defenses go immediately ~ because of course, they know it all ~ isn't that what they have been allowed to believe their whole lives?
In organizations across the country, I bet you will hear:
"What have they done for me lately?"
"This company owes me more than this as an annual raise. After all, I put in my eight hours a day." (Never mind performance)
"They're not being fair."
“I just graduated college, I can’t believe they did not give me that CEO job of Google.”
“I deserve a publishing contract from the publisher I sent my completed novel to. I "tried out", didn't I? You mean everyone doesn't get to "play"?”
Would you like a little cheese with that whine? It's no wonder that bankruptcy filings are up (you mean I'm not entitled to buy whatever I want? I can afford an $85,000 home, but I really wanted the $350,000 home, so I bought it. What do you mean they are going to foreclose?), crime is up (If you have it and I want it, I get to take it - whether that's your purse, your car, or your life), and work ethic is down, down, down (companies can hardly fire a substandard worker for fear of a lawsuit).
We're all different, with different gifts. I want to show our kids how to be the best they can be, not the best their neighbor can. But if we don't give them a reason to excel, why should they? We want them to know the difference between right and wrong. We want to show them how to do their best and to help them figure out their strengths. We want them to be hard workers, not mediocre, I showed up, reward-me-kind-of-people that refuse to take the blame when things go wrong and are always trying to take the praise for others hard work. Our goal for the Buckaroos is not to make them happy by immediately gratifying their natural lusts; we want to build character. This is hard work and we don’t always get it right. We pray for the insight to be able to do this successfully for much depends upon it.
Thank you for INDULGING my soapbox rant.
Boycotting the mall,
The Park Wife