Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Unrealistic Sense of Entitlement -

Day two of my "what's wrong with America rant" focuses on the term unrealistic sense of entitlement (or USE). Pop that term into google and you'll find endless blogs of people complaining about the young people of today. You'll rarely see a parent complaining about their own sweet darlings. That's a huge hint to discovering who is behind this problem. The Parents are to blame... oh and TV.

TV is not actually the blame so much as it's a carrier of the plague. Vast numbers of people who never knew a thing about Orange County, now know exactly how the parents and kids behave there. What I see of the women there makes me roll my eyes and what I see of the kids' behaviors makes me want to slap them into next week. It makes the kids in other locations think that's how they are supposed to act. Trust me- it's not. It fosters USE.

If you know me, you know I detest quite a lot that goes along with organized sports and it's machine. If I hear one more time how it inspires "responsibility and teamwork that lasts a life time" I'll scream. It does not. It fosters USE. There are stories after stories of parents yelling at officials because their sweet child's team didn't win. Parents arguing with the other parents and worse -fighting. You know the ride home is full of excuses. "That ref was an ass. You should have won. It's not your fault." Classic USE encouragement.

In my work, I encounter several USE kids. As far as I am concerned, a kid's job is school. They are to show up, do the work, and show they've learned. USE kids have trouble doing any one of them, let alone all three. USE kids who think their own personal agenda is more important than attending school. (Going on a concert tour, a family vacation, hunting trip) Then, they do not do the classroom work (there is NO homework any longer, just left over classroom work) And, of course, can't pass the tests because they haven't.

It's hard for people my age to look at that and not say, "wow! When I was in school we actually had classwork AND homework. We had chores to do at home and we still managed to do all of it"

No one wants to say that though... it makes us sound like really old crotchety ladies. The last thing we want to view OURSELVES as is an old lady whining about the good old days. We are fostering USE by not speaking up.

Here's a short history lesson. My father worked hard to finish the 8th grade. After that, he was on his own in the big, bad world and he had to make his way. By the time his children were growing up, he at least expected them to graduate from HS and dreamed of them attending college. I couldn't wait to be on my own when I graduated HS and did a circular route to college (I admit a few mistakes along the way) The point is, I did not want to be dependant on my parents any longer. I was not comfortable there in the home they worked all their life to have. I wanted my OWN without their rules.

Somehow, the parents of the USE kids have made home too comfortable for them to ever want to leave. The parents have sent them off to college (paying for it) and have accepted the boomerang adult kids back home. OH, the difference between being thrown out on your ass to sink or swim at 8th grade and the ones who are in their mid 20's now is just a couple generations apart. The difference between a child being "seen and not heard" and "the world revolves around me" child. There needs to be some moderation between the two.
My sister has a theory about the cause of USE. Too many people are concerned about a child's self-esteem so they have fewer competitions and more participation awards. It doesn't matter if you won the games or lost them, poor dear child will be crushed if they don't get a medal, so we'll give them ALL one. Wake up folks- You can't be given self-esteem, you have to EARN it. You earn it by... excelling at something. Actually being the best, not just being there.
I won an art award when I was in the 8th grade. It was a small art charm that i could wear on a bracelet or necklace. I still have it. Because it meant something. Of all the students who took art, the teacher thought I was an artist of note. It's a small thing, but it started me on the path I am on today. Someone noticed I was good at this and rewarded it. That's what gives me pride in my work, hope in my vision, determination to be my best.
Parents, be realistic about your children. They will not be good at everything but they do need to try. They will not be perfectly behaved, but you need to do what's needed to make sure they try to be. They need to suffer the consequences of their failure to do what they need to be doing. They need to know there's an end to childhood. That is, by law, 18, not whenever they finally finish grad school. If they want to go to grad school, let them be responsible for getting there. Let them figure out their lives for themselves.


At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Therese May Studio said...

I really admire your ability to express your opinion and it sure makes a lot of sense! thanks


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