EntitlementPosted: December 11, 2007
Well, since two people asked me yesterday what my thots are on this subject, i’ll stick them here. You may stick them wherever you feel appropriate. You may also not feel that these are connected- but i’ll do my best to make clear the connections that i see. Question 1 was about why some people, irregardless of socio-economic status, seem so self-absorbed and completely without table manners of any kind (it sounded more like a real question and a lot less whiny in person). Question 2 was “If you were to have control over the values and belief systems of someone from the time that they were born until they were 20, what are the values and belief systems that you would want instilled in who they are?”
Well, don’t know that i can completely answer #2, but this is what pops into my head when i hear these questions… Entitlement. You can also call it poverty mentality, but it doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with economic poverty- entitlement is two basic asuumptions about the world rolled into one:
A. the situation (always considered in a negative light) i find myself in, and the person i have become (note the finality) is/are the responsibililty/fault of someone else (God, government, etc.).
B. the solution to this problem is the responsibility of someone else (God, government, etc.)
A+B=Entitlement. Better minds have tackled this issue and could tell you where it comes from and how to break it. In raising a child, it would be one of my ongoing intentions to discourage any sign of this mentality for a number of reasons:
1. It’s a completely self-centric way of viewing the world and completely destructive on both micro and macro levels. The implications range from silly to pathetic.
2. You are purposefully handing over your destiny to someone else. (We accidentally encourage this in the church with the “give your life to God” thing w/o really explaining what that means.) People have their life mapped out for them against their will in some cases- we call this things like ‘slavery’, ‘entrapment’,and ‘holocaust’, among others. Why would you choose that? (rhetorical question b/c any affirmative answers would be stupid.)
3. Biblically, life is a gift; not a hand-out. The concept of stewardship is powerful and dead-on accurate. Each life is the responsibility of the individual it was handed to at birth. The passage into adulthood is the passing on of that responsibility from caretakers to the individual. W/o that passing and acceptance of responsibility, the individual remains a ‘child’ indefinitely.
But what’s the antithesis of entitlement? because you can’t just raise a kid to NOT be something. It creates a vacuum that all sorts of scary things can fill. You have to raise them up to something, right?