I just read an article that I agree with very much. Here it is if you’re intersted: Glenn Beck: Too bad, Michigan and Florida.
I’ve long been concerned about the growing trend of entitlement in America. Whether the topic of discussion is welfare, poverty, education, highways, water rights, or any other current issue, there seems to be a growing sentiment among all Americans: “You owe it to me!”. Somewhere along the way there was a generation that picked up the idea that, work or not, they deserved to have expensive homes and cars, luxurious vacations, and privileged access to everything that the generation before them worked a lifetime to obtain.
One billboard in particular comes to mind. It read “Get Married, Get a Home”. In the background was a picture of a 3000 square foot home with a large yard, brilliantly landscaped, and a grand entrance. It was nicer than the home my parents lived in near the end of my father’s career. Meanwhile I wondered how I would be able to afford rent for me and a young wife, let alone a huge home like that. But marketing like that has generated a perceived “need” in young people that owning a home is a rite of passage.
Perhaps one of the most concerning side effects of this new entitlement attitude is the growing list of truly valuable achievements that our generation is forgoing. For example, there are many young people that choose work over higher education so they can acquire the cars, homes or other status symbols that they have been taught to value. Many young couples put off having children or place them in child care rather than live with less. As a result, a new generation of children are growing up to understand that family comes in second to the house, cars, trips, etc.
One quote that comes to mind I read many years ago in the book The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is about education and ones ability to serve the cause (or deed) that they love. How much energy is wasted by the youth of our day, who approach the challenges of life, under-prepared and undisciplined?
…unfortunately, these young men do not understand that the sacrifice of life is, perhaps, the easiest of all sacrifices in many cases, while to sacrifice, five or six years of their ebulliently youthful life to hard, difficult studies, to learning, in order to increase tenfold their strength to serve the very truth and the very deed that they loved and set out to accomplish – such sacrifice is quite often almost beyond the strength of many of them.
One of the biggest problems with this new entitlement mentality is that it is not sustainable. Debt comes due too quickly. High paying jobs are hard to come by quickly and often require higher education. Poor planning and living paycheck to paycheck can make a small problem quickly become a financial crisis.
As Glenn Beck pointed out, the answer this generation seems to give is a bunch of excuses. They eventually walk away. Whether it’s bankruptcy, foreclosure, or passing the bill on to Mom and Dad, we seem to be losing our capacity to take responsibility.
For those of you wondering where we can find examples in American history of leaders taking responsibility and leading responsibly, you need look no further than George Washington. He was aware that the most influential factor leading up to the American Revolution was the heavy tax laid on the people in the colonies by Britain. He was always extremely cautious to keep government small and to serve, not burden, the people.
Eventually the tab will come due and if it’s not this generation it will be the next. We would do well to remember the reasons for the establishment of our independence and let that motivate us to once again liberate ourselves from debt, vice and cling to honesty hard work and virtue.