Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do Not Teach Entitlement

                    Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation is taught the value of work, motivation, perseverance and satisfaction.  When children live in a world where they receive instant gratification for their every desire, they learn to have an entitlement mentality.   Parents and other adults can help children and teenagers develop the necessary values and skills to be successful in life if they reject societal pressure to constantly give them things without requiring any work or effort on their part.

                    Richard and Linda Eyre are international bestselling authors on family, parenting, and life balance.  I have read several books written by them and even used their Joy School program to teach my own children.  I was immediately interested in an article written by them about the problem of entitlement.  (More information about the Eyres can be found here and here.)   

                    I found the article, "Entitlement is a problem for everyone," to be very interesting. enlightening and helpful to any parent interested in helping their children to be more successful in life.

                    The Eyres wrote:  "But as parents, we have just got to understand that there has never before been a generation of kids so entitled. 
                    "They are indulged and pampered by the society around them and by us!  And more and more, they don't want to work (or to wait) for anything.

                    "Not only do they live in a culture of have-it-now media and advertising, bailouts and instant gratification, they live in homes that perpetuate and strengthen that paradigm thanks to parents who give them what they want without [asking] anything in return.
                    "And entitlement really is a kid trap, because once those entitlement jaws have grabbed a child, they hold fast.  The reason this trap is a particularly bad one is that it stifles children's initiative, encourages self-centeredness and mutes their natural and healthy fear of consequences.

                    "It makes them feel like the world owes them a living and destroys the connection between effort and reward.
                    "So our kids don't learn to work.
                    "They don't feel much incentive or motivation to do their best.

                    "And they don't know much about consequences because someone always excuses them, gets them off the hook or bails them out.
                    "Nothing could be more destructive to their motivation, their creativity, their confidence and independence, and their sense of responsibility.
                    "Entitlement robs our children of the prime elements of joy:  appreciation and gratitude, and work and fulfillment.
                    "In giving them what they want, we deprive them of what they need."

                    When adults teach entitlement to the rising generation, we set them up for failure in life.  Is it any wonder that nearly half of our nation is trapped with an entitlement mentality?  Our nation enjoyed numerous years of prosperity before we started spiraling down into this economic recession, plenty of years for several generations to be taught entitlement by otherwise well-meaning parents.

                    Even though I sometimes feel that my children are being too strict with their children, I am grateful they are teaching my grandchildren to work and to be responsible.  Several of my children are in positions where they could well afford to indulge their children with everything they desire, but they do not.  In fact, my daughter-in-law who lives in an affluent neighborhood expressed her appreciation for neighbors and others in her community who decline the pressures in society to give excessive worldly goods to their children.  She indicated that her job is made much easier when other parents teach the same values to their children. 

                    When children and teenagers are taught the values of work and perseverance, they learn to motivate themselves and to feel the satisfaction of jobs well done.  Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we reject the idea of entitlement and accept the idea of being personally responsible for ourselves.


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