Sunday, August 21, 2011

National Entitlement Awareness Day

Linda and Richard Eyre will be releasing their newest book, The Entitlement Trap, on September 6. They are currently offering a great promotion for anyone who would like to raise less entitled children. Anyone? For details, visit the following website:

AND Speaking of entitlement, I have a few thoughts of my own (don't I always?)...

...the online Free Dictionary defines the term entitle as "to furnish with a right or claim to something." So when we discuss Entitlement among the next generation (Isn't it always a vice of the NEXT generation?), we are referring to their belief that they have a right or a claim to something that they haven't necessarily done anything to earn. When played out, it isn't pretty.

As much as I hate to admit it, I sometimes see it played out in my own life. I feel entitled to buy butter instead of margarine, chicken tenders instead of whole chickens, and fresh blueberries instead of frozen. I feel entitled to have a car to drive, shoes to wear, and lip balm. I feel entitled to running water, cool air, and a loving husband. Wait. Stop. Check that last one. Actually, I have NEVER felt entitled to have a loving husband. Or have I? I nearly always feel grateful for my sweet, thoughtful, and attentive soul mate... but there are times that I probably haven't treated him that way... times that maybe he wondered if he was really appreciated.

And isn't that the saddest, most caustic symptom of Entitlement? Ingratitude. It is ugly from every angle. We like to feel appreciated. We like to know that our existence matters. By the same token, it feels good to appreciate OTHERS--to value their contribution.

How do we overcome or avoid the damaging effects of Entitlement? In a nutshell, I think LESS is MORE. Thankfully, my children don't have a lot of expectations when it comes to Things, and during this period of unemployment, I have been most grateful for that. On the first day of school, not one of my four school-aged children started with new shoes, shirt, or shorts. They didn't even complain. My oldest son was itching for a new backpack--he had used the same one from kindergarten through sixth grade--so he found one he wanted online, and we split the bill with him. He didn't complain. He just had to decide how badly he wanted THAT backpack.

The less we have, the more we value what we DO have.

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