Entitlement

“Hey! That’s MINE!!”

My son and I were dining locally, when the table behind us erupted in sibling discord. At least, I thought it was sibling discord. My son was glaring over my shoulder, and shaking his head. I’m nosy by nature, so of course, I HAD to look, too. There was no sibling. There was only a mama and her son, the table covered in half-eaten fries, scattered sugar, and shredded napkins. Mama was in the process of apologizing to the boy for “touching” his fries. The half eaten fries. The wasted fries. And Little Johnny was holding Mama hostage with his fork.

Welcome to the Entitlement Generation.

I had a Christian challenged moment, the Good Angel Meir Mommy in one ear, and the Bad OhNoHeDidn’t Mommy in the other. I was about to launch into a lecture on obedience and respect.

“Can you HEAR him, Mama?”

Well, yeah. Everybody in four counties could hear him. The kid looked to me like he had been there before. In the position to demand, I mean. The mama continued to placate, and I continued to ignore them. There was a small lesson to be learned, a reminder that, “Slow obedience is disobedience,” (Miss Joanna), but I decided there was a much larger, more significant, LIFE lesson to revisit.

They don’t make ’em like they used to. And we don’t raise ’em like we used to. My grandparent’s generation was the last to experience true poverty. Poverty is not $24,000 per year for a family of four. Poverty is no food for DAYS. Poverty is no clean water. Poverty is a dirt floor and no windows.

The original entitlement program was enacted in 1935, and was intended to provide stipends for the elderly, the goal being: not working one’s self to death. The original entitlement, Social Security, has ballooned far beyond the original intent. Able adults should be expected to work, live within their means, and contribute to the betterment of our communities. Children of today are the adults of tomorrow, and the adults of today are the old folks of tomorrow. It’s sobering to imagine the treatment us old folk can expect from the “Gimmes”.

There are few remaining that can personally recall true poverty. Those that have experienced such conditions are never, ever the ones living beyond their means, now. I don’t necessarily wish poverty for any citizen, but we are running out of corners to paint. My son thought (until this school year) his belongings were his, by right of entitlement, endowed upon him for simply existing. He didn’t realize how much extras actually cost. I asked him to hold the grocery receipt one day, while I dug my keys out of my bag. He held it all the way home, and learned just how much that “stuff” in the fridge costs. I believe he was surprised.

I grew up with little money, but am blessed with a mama who is sheer genius at stretching a dollar. She was raised in the same manner. At the time, I complained. What kid doesn’t? She was tempted to give in, trying to give us more than she could actually afford. But she didn’t. She empowered, and did not enable. If we refuse to teach our children prudence, discretion, and responsibility in finances, we are enabling a new generation to feel entitled.

I built my personal financial practices by following my grandparent’s standard. Their standards were biblical:

Nowadays, my son is very involved in the economic matters in our home. He is much more considerate with his own belongings, and realizes there is value is in the ability to earn extras. He practices his math skills by dividing his money appropriately between God, necessities, savings, and luxuries. I do not buy toys unless it is his birthday or Christmas. It is my personal hope that one day soon he will not ask me to provide extras, before he has earned them. There is no allowance in my house. I don’t get an allowance for breathing, and neither does he. There is a systematic approach to running a household, and all members of said household will contribute without expectation of reward. We work for what we have, because we can.

Be good stewards. Be blessed, Y’all.

 

~ He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, but the hand of the diligent maketh rich ~
~ Proverbs 10:4 ~