Summary: Entitlement is when people feel that the world owes them something without having to do anything to earn it. We llok at entitlement in our culture and then see what Scripture has to say about it
In his commencement speech to the Wellesley High School Class of 2012, English teacher David McCullough delivered some sobering words: “None of you is special. You are not special. You are not exceptional.” He called the graduating students “pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped... nudged, cajoled ... feted and fawned over… Contrary to what your U9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain (corpulent) purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and….no matter how often your maternal caped crusader (mom) has swooped in to save you, you are nothing special.” David McCullough said these things because kids today have been so pampered and coddled that they have an attitude of entitlement.
Mitt Romney was recorded in a private conversation during his bid for the presidency: “….there are 47 percent…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement. (and they believe) the government should give it to them.” Or take the story of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company whose commercial flight had engine problems and had to make an emergency landing. Everyone was de-boarded from the plane and then got in a long line to rebook their flights. He walked by 50 people in line and stepped up to the counter and began to blame the ticket agent for his predicament of missing a major meeting. She told him to get back in line whereupon he said, “Young lady, do you know who I am? I could have your job with a simple phone call!” High schoolers have to have designer fashions, college graduates are in debt up to their eyeballs but go out and buy the largest flatscreen because others have it. 40-somethings took out mortgages they couldn’t afford because they “deserved” a larger house. And people facing retirement who have lived well by overspending have saved nothing for retirement but now face the choice of working for the rest of their lives or subsisting on Social Security. No matter your age or your income, Americans in general have a sense of entitlement. And the fact is that none of these people came into the world with an attitude of entitlement. Slowly over time with the help of many forces, entitlement attitudes blossomed and grew.
Entitlement is when people feel that the world owes them something without having to do anything to earn it. It started in earnest after WW II when the United States experienced unprecedented economic growth and the Baby Boomers experienced the highest standard of living of any generation in human history. The entire consumer market focused on them because of the numbers of their generation, catering to their every need and wants. Boomers then passed on to their children the promise of “The American Dream” that every American will get to have a good life, a job they enjoy, a generous paycheck, affordable housing and transportation and a secure retirement and an expectation that their standard of living would be the same or better than their parent’s, not taking into account that it took decades of hard work to attain that. There are other ways parents have contributed to this. We cook a dinner and our children don’t like it so we make them something else. We buy our kids the latest tech toys for Christmas, even though they may be 10 time more expensive than the toys we grew up with. We give our children cell phones and cave into their demands for designer clothing and $150 tennis shoes. We hand out trophies to every child on every team regardless of their record.