Monday, March 23, 2009

age of entitlement

I heard that phrase Sunday night at a meeting I attended. It got me thinking. Why do we feel 'entitled' to so much? Why do we think we 'need' a big house, a ride-on lawn tractor, more than one tv set, dessert after a meal, cell phones, cable, electronic entertainment... Why do we feel we 'deserve' to live at a certain level of comfort when we do so little to get there? Did you eat chicken last week? I'll bet you weren't out in the yard slaughtering and plucking that thing beforehand. Did you have a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast? Pour and Pour. No cows, no milking, no grinding the corn and no worries. We live in an age of convenience, and we want, want, want. We go to the store to buy something, and we don't worry about having enough money in our wallets to pay for what we buy, because we can whip out the plastic and make those worries go away. Do you use a credit card? I do. But when I was little, owning a piggy bank represented trying to save up to buy something you really wanted. When you finally saved enough, you could reward yourself with that bike, or that new sweater. Today, I'm pretty sure most of my kids think a piggy bank is a cute knick knack that you can plop pennies into. Do they feel entitled to their possessions? Their game systems, their extensive wardrobes, the plasma tv? You betcha. Whose fault is this? We live in a frightening economic time. We need more than political awareness and financial savvy. We need to be educating the next generation. We need to make sure the current generation gets this. The 'buy now pay later' mindset is everywhere. Is it your birthday? Christmas? Groundhog day? And I didn't buy you anything yet... I'll just jet on over to the store and take my plastic security with me. How hard would it be to start saying NO to requests for new shoes? (How much money do you have? Is that enough to buy the shoes you want? Then you better start saving...) Tonight is family home evening. I'm feeling a lesson coming on. My props? A credit card, a credit card bill, an attractive ad full of things everyone wants, and this baby:

10 comments:

Joy said...

Ah! I got that lesson on Friday from Ben...Need I say more!

Sarah said...

Oh Boy!

shirlgirl said...

Guess Sarah knows what's coming tonight for FHE. My Dad used to say that you should have the money to pay for what you want. I don't even remember if he had a credit card or not. I use mine sparingly. I do use my debit card because I don't carry much cash with me, but by using the debit card, I am using cash from my checking account for groceries. I do watch what I spend. I hate shopping for clothes so don't buy much unless it is something I really need. Shoes--another story. When you grew up with large narrow feet and could only get a pair of brown oxfords with a Thomas heel for a shoe,and then the shoemakers started making dressy attractive shoes in 10 1/2 with a 4A width (now 3A),I'd go on a shoe-buying frenzy. That's when I was working. Still have some of those shoes and haven't bought any in a very long time (my shoes cost upwards to $80 or $90 a pair and sometimes more, then I think about the "need". I agree that less plastic should be used and more thought in what is purchased. Good choice for a lesson tonight for the family. Good luck in your teaching.I'd be interested in the results.

Jo Jo said...

Very timely indeed. Great post.

April said...

Dear Jenny
I couldn't remember if I had taken the opportunity to thank you for your kind words on my blog! (If I did on another post somewhere, then just consider yourself double loved) I love that Becky has such wonderful sisters! Thanks for reaching out to me and for making me smile!
April

Science Teacher Mommy said...

"We need more than political awareness and financial savvy. We need to be educating the next generation." YES! This also has a ton to do with teaching our kids delayed gratification and work habits.

Good idea for an FHE; maybe next week. There is an SNL skit/informerical with Steve Martin and Amy Poeler. They are sitting at a table and wondering what to do about their financial mess. In walks a guy in a suit with a book. He tells them they need to read his "revolutionary" new book to learn how to manage their finances. The title? "Don't Buy It Unless You Have the Money." They are shocked and scandalized, but mostly, they totally can't understand what he is telling them. Hilarious and completely frightening at the same time.

priscilla said...

Love to hear what went on and the children's reactions.

I remember telling tina (in her request to go to the mall).
As a child and an adult I went to the store...when I needed something...not to find out what I might want after viewing it.

love
mom

Primarymary said...

I cut up all of my credit cards about 4 years ago. Now I have to earn and save to spend. I have to say, life is a lot less stressful.

Trueman twins said...

So true. My kids always say "just charge it mom." I have explained to them many times that we still have to pay for it in the end.
I hate the "entitlement" expectations and hope to instill in my children and myself we don't always get what we want, but we most certainly get what we need. Wants and needs are so hard sometimes especially if your 8!

smart mama said...

Great thoughts- yes entitlement- so true!! good luck with the follow up- all they have all summer to eat by the sweat of their brows form the garden!as I sat sewing my curtains today I thought abotu how many fewer clothes we'd have if we had ot make them oursleves- (but think of how nicely our custom fit long jeans would fit!)