While we address the growing problem of youth entitlement, let’s not forget from whom they’ve learned, all while trying to push it off on our culture!
We’ve all read that today’s children feel entitled, more than any previous generation. But isn’t it us who have indulged and pampered them, often because we need to move on to our own important business? It’s also (let’s be honest), just easier to hand over.
Not only do kids live in a society of have-it-now media and advertising, bail outs, and immediate gratification, they live in homes that perpetuate and strengthen that paradigm thanks to parents who give them what they want without anything in return. I know the temptation to do this is strong because to actually teach them otherwise takes TIME!
Our oldest locked the keys (the ONLY keys) out of our Jeep last weekend. Within one phone call to his parents and a lame attempt with a friend’s house key, our son chose an easy cell phone call to a locksmith. Luckily he called us back right after that decision and soon enough for us to (loudly) instruct him to call the locksmith back and renege on the request. Our son’s go-to reaction was for the “quick fix” (even with an awareness that this kind of mishap would require his earned money, not ours). In other words, convenience spoke louder than money.
Our son also felt the pressure.
He was in the middle of a school project and had other people waiting for him, he felt unsure about asking strangers for help, and was no doubt disappointed that he wasn’t getting bailed out by his parents. At least not right away. The Teacher did eventually arrive on the scene to assist our son (we decided it was his first offense… Would he even know what to do with a metal hanger?). In the end, the door did get unlocked without a key or a locksmith but it took three hours out of more than one person’s day.
Who has that kind of time?
As parents, I’m afraid we must have the time!
Sometimes it will take three hours on a Saturday when all we want to do is plop in front of the big game, but it is our God-given duty to train and teach; to lend a hand OR stand by their side (resisting the temptation to give that hand) when they can figure it out themselves.
I honestly find it difficult to find the balance. With summer approaching how will I teach my kids all over again that they are members of a family unit which includes responsibility, yet allow time to skip through shallow water with an ice cream cone?
How do you plan to bring responsibility into your home this summer? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Perhaps the biggest problem with entitlement is that when we live under its illusion, we forget that in all things there are consequences.
Someone will not always bail us out.
Get us off the hook.
Buy us a new one.
Give us another chance.
Pay our debt.
I know…Jesus did pay our debt the cross. He gave us another chance. He bailed us out and got us off the hook. But God was dealing with our eternal salvation that day, not a life of entitlement. Oscar Wilde said it well, “Every one is worthy of love, except him who thinks that he is. Love is a sacrament that should be taken kneeling.”
More on this tomorrow because the sad truth is that I’m just as guilty of feeling entitled as this generation of children…
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)