Earlier this week I saw this picture of a notepad with a title that read something like, “This is what you are entitled to, or what the world owes you.” Under the title, the notepad was empty. Blank. It did not say that you are entitled to a free education, a nice car, a six-number salary, or 1000 friends on Facebook. Nothing.
The attitude of entitlement is something that we are surrounded by in society today. I see it everyday, whether I am at work, school, or home. People seem to think that the world owes them something; that, for some reason, they should not have to face a challenge that someone else is. Entitlement is an attitude that can take over a person before they even realize it.
Is there any way to avoid becoming another person who believes that the world owes them or to keep the next generation from growing up with this mindset?
I believe that part of the issue begins when people begin thinking that they are too good for something. As a barista, I have had many a customer intentionally wait to ask for an add-in or something extra until after they have placed their order, hoping to avoid the upcharge. While I am aware that coffee prices can be ridiculous ($5/20 ounces is a bit much, let’s be honest), I equally know that .50 cents more is not going to undo you. It has to do with integrity. We all have rough mornings when we truly forget something, but making a habit of these practices causes me to wonder why one thinks that they are they exception to the cost, policy, or rule.
Integrity is not something that can be fixed by outside pressures or sources. This character trait is has to be taught and shown by adults, role models, throughout a child’s life. When a child hears or reads stories about characters who put integrity into practice and who act selfless, rather than entitled, he or she begins to learn the value of putting this characteristic into practice in their own life.
Training children while they are young is crucial in affecting how they will grow and develop through the years. The importance of good role models cannot be overemphasized. Those adolescents and adults that live entitled lives have chosen to act as though the world exists just for them. They, too, have the choice to reset their thinking and choose to think of the needs of others.
We do not have to continue on in this lifestyle of entitlement that is so easy to slip into each day. Parents, college students, teachers, leaders, and others have the opportunity to show the next generation what it would be like if we stopped living for ourselves and began living for others. Instead of focusing on being served, we may take a small step and serve those around us. Get rid of the entitled title that you have put on yourself and start living for something bigger.
Shelby is a Senior Elementary Education major with a Spanish minor. She works as a barista and spends mornings in a 2nd grade class as a student teacher. As an Air Force brat, she has moved all around the United States and traveled to several other countries. In her free time, Shelby loves spending time with her family, adventuring with her boyfriend, and making memories with her friends. In every area of her life, God comes first, although she has to remind herself to trust Him in every situation. Through writing, Shelby hopes to show people the great grace of her Savior and how to live life to the fullest.