http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/308772_faith24.html?source=mypi Articles of Faith: The unfortunate age of entitlement in America
By ANTHONY B. ROBINSON
Some will remember the hot book of the 1970s, "I'm OK -- You're OK" by Thomas Harris. Harris' tome was part of the self-esteem movement of the time. Thirty years later, self-esteem seems to have morphed into entitlement.
Perhaps the book for this decade will be, "I'm Entitled and So Are You! (Though Perhaps Not Quite So Much as Me)."
Such a book, popular as it might prove, would lack therapeutic value. A more helpful book might bear the title, "I'm Not Entitled and Neither Are You -- So Get Over It!"
Entitlement issues are increasingly a concern of psychologists and therapists. Pastors and some educators report similar concerns. We seem to have come to the place where we feel entitled to the good life. We're entitled to have everything work for us. If it doesn't, someone must be to blame, and you can be sure of at least this: Whoever is at fault, it isn't us.
What a crazy idea!
Imagine a pile of presents under the Christmas tree as large as Bunker Hill that's taken for granted. That's just the way it's supposed to be. Every kid has a right to presents by the heaps, and even that will disappoint if the latest, coolest thing isn't to be found.
A person standing on a beautiful beach in Hawaii with a frown on his face, muttering, "I really liked our spring vacation better" -- that's an entitlement issue, too.
I read that these days mental health types see young people on a regular basis who are absolutely certain their lives should be better than they are and someone else is to blame. But not only young people. This seems to be an intergenerational dysfunction. Working in an upscale retirement home can be a tough gig! Talk radio shows and their jocks specialize in identifying the culprits and not very often are they us. And when it's our own children who have stepped in it, the self-righteousness of parents can be a wonder to behold.
The upshot is a culture of complaint. We have, it seems, grown fluent in the language of blame, complaint and grievance, while having lost our linguistic capacity when it comes to words such as, "Please," "Thank you," and "I'm sorry."
We also seem increasingly disabled when it comes to those locutions that express personal responsibility for our part in the problems that beset us. After all, how can we possibly say, "It's my fault," when we've been weaned and schooled on self-esteem? If I'm OK and you're OK, then it must be "Them."
A sense of entitlement means that we feel that we have a right or a claim to something, whether it's the best school, a grand home, preferential treatment, or the good life.
How has this pervasive sense of entitlement come to pass? Is it self-esteem run amok? Is it the emphasis on "rights" in speech and thought? Is entitlement a corollary of affluence or a consequence of consumerism? Does it owe to being the world's sole superpower? Whatever the cause, this much seems true: Entitlement is the handmaiden of the ego, the sign of a neglected, malnourished soul.