Thankful and Giving
Entitlement is the belief that someone has the right to claim, do or receive something, regardless of their actions, experience or the expense. It can also be described as a disease, threatening the way our children see reality. Symptoms include: lacking personal responsibility and accountability towards the family and society, general malaise towards hard work and working hard until the job is done and most serious of all, expectations of greatness in all things just because they breathe, (Michelle-ipedia). There are enough young adults and children who have been infected with entitlement that it raises cause for serious concern. We must do something to save our children from this horrible, contagious disease!
Our children need to understand the fallacy of entitlement; that in reality everything in life comes at a cost, (I’m suddenly haunted by my high school economics teacher, Coach Manus “If you learn nothing in my class learn this: THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCHES!”). They need to understand they are in fact entitled to safety and freedom; so long as they abide by established laws, (to include the house rules), and understand safety and freedom comes at the cost of others working in harm’s way, risking their lives to secure it. They are entitled to an education so long as someone else has been trained or is willing to provide it. They are entitled to food, clothing and shelter, so long as we can afford to put it on the table, their backs and over their heads. And if we, parents, cannot provide these entitlements, we pray that someone else has the willingness and means to generously provide them for us…at their expense.
Unfortunately, there are many families today, living in our own community, who view some of the above “entitlements” as luxury items. An American family of 4 must make less than $23,050/year (www.censu.gov) before taxes to qualify for state or federal assistance programs. That’s less than $1900/month to provide a happy home life in a safe environment, with three healthy, balanced meals a day, clothing, transportation and utilities expenses, medical costs/ insurance for 4 people and child care/education as needed for 2 children. Those of you who manage the household budget realize the daunting challenge this presents – sacrifices must be made.
I’m pro-capitalism; I believe the positive benefits to a capitalist society outweigh the negative. I believe if someone works hard they’re “entitled” to the rewards. But I also believe that those of us who have been so blessed can afford to extend a helping hand to those who have not. And capitalism has blessed a lot of us! We cannot change the fact that there will always be poverty; at least until Stardate 2409 when we will no longer require the use of currency! What we can do is change how we view the impoverished and thereby change how we deal with it in our society…starting with our entitled children.
We need to teach our children to be Thankful. Thankful for what they do have and thankful for the opportunities and experiences we are able to provide them. Next, we need to instill in them a heart for Giving. Giving time, energy and/or allowable means provides a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that is immeasurable and elevates the spirit of everyone involved.
Regretfully, the local pharmacy doesn’t carry a prescription that can cure the entitlement bug; therefore, the best thing you can do is serve up a strong dose of reality; you can get that over-the-counter, it’s even free! And since our little darlings expect instantaneous gratification I suggest you give it to them straight! How? Sign your family up to volunteer at a local community service center.
We’re all familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I invite you to get your family personally familiar with a new holiday spending experience that truly personifies the true meaning of the “Holiday Spirit” – Giving Tuesday. On Tuesday November 27th make a commitment and schedule a day to spend time and energy together as a family, helping others in our community who are less fortunate. Infect your children with a thankful, giving, humble heart for humanity.
Warning: Giving is addictive & contagious!
There are many organizations in the Rogue Valley that may fall in line with your personal value system, which can accommodate your family’s schedule and comfort level, to include plenty of opportunities for most age groups. To get started check out: www.volunteermatch.com, also check out www.givingtuesday.org for more ideas on how to participate and ways to get involved!