In 2009, I wrote my first article regarding the sense of entitlement that many folks display. I wrote it because I was mildly frustrated with the “you owe me” attitude displayed by a few of my teenaged nieces and nephews. Recent political rhetoric about income re-distribution, sharing the wealth, leveling the playing field, and taxing the rich to get money to give to those less fortunate has convinced me to revisit the topic.
It is natural for infants and young children to feel entitled to have what they want when they want it. Infants and young children actually are entitled to have their physical, mental, and emotional needs met. If those who brought them into the world are unable or unwilling to do this, then society must step up to the plate and fill the gap.
I find mildly perplexing that, for many, this feeling of entitlement continues long after they have grown beyond childhood. I’m aghast that, all too often, adoring parents feel guilty when they fail to meet the all perceived entitlements of their teenaged or adult children. It is not uncommon to hear teens and young adults say: “If you really loved me...” - “But, I really, really, need the best ...” - “Everybody else is..." - “They all have.., except me." - “But I spent my money already and I want ....” - “You owe it to me; I didn’t ask to be born” - “It is your duty to give me ...” So it goes, the teenagers/young adults lay on the guilt; the parents cave in and provide the demanded items long after their off spring are capable of providing for many of their own needs. The desire to provide for ones children is understandable; nonetheless, caving in to whining of teens and young adults just reinforces the entitlement mentality. This selfish attitude in teens and young adults is frustrating; but, there is hope that with education, training, and a bit of maturing they will grow away from entitlement mentality.
My HOT button is pushed to the limit by older, mature (I use the term loosely), adults with a major sense of entitlement. Their behavior and “you owe me” attitude is baffling and unacceptable to me. The steadfast belief that by virtue of being alive, one deserves some particular reward or benefit is as alien to me as the little green men that reside in Nevada’s Area 51.
Exactly what is it to which these people believe they are entitled? A comfortable home – wholesome, well prepared food – medical/dental care – dependable transportation (“a sports car would be nice”) – education – designer clothing – an easy, interesting job; is that pretty much it? Or is it more than that? I’m beginning to suspect that a lot of folks want to be given all the above, with the possible exception of the job; plus, they want their perceived slice of the pie to magically appear in their hands without any effort on their part.
I am at a loss to understand who they think owes them all these things; is it society? – the boss? – the spouse? – the parents – the in-laws? – the government? – the world? – “everybody”? – or perhaps, God?
It is beyond my comprehension how, otherwise sane, people can justify demanding that those who have worked hard, invested well, or had the luck to be born of ancestors who worked hard turn over an increasing amount of their money a government. Stranger yet, is why a government should have the right to redistribute that money to those who feel entitled not to work at all. How would the government determine who is entitled to what? Perhaps a better question is who in the government will make this determination? Moreover, who among us should not be required to do everything possible to take care of their own needs and wants?
My suggestion for those who feel the world owes them something is: cease expecting cheese to go with your whine and start taking responsibility to provide for your own wants and needs. The world owes you NOTHING. Yes, I said nothing. Life is not owed to you; life is a gift. Beyond the gift of life; which is a pretty awesome gift, the world is full of life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and life changing resources, charities, and opportunities. All of these things are gifts – not entitlements.
Bottom line, we all owe the world our gratitude for these gifts; those who can’t be gracious enough to show gratitude should move over, stay silent, and let the ones who are grateful express it. There is no better way to express gratitude than to give back; BUT, each person should have the right to decide what, when, where, how, and how much to give back. Personally, I don’t want Uncle Sam, or any one else, trying to make that decision for me.