Tag Archives: birthday

Entitlement and Your Child

The other day, Ian and I went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. I don’t know how we got started, but we ended up talking about credit. In this country, and in many others, I’m sure, we are nurtured up under the encouragement to always want more than we have. We celebrate things like Christmas and birthdays, which serve one major purpose, especially if you’re a kid – the getting of more stuff.

We’re taught that every kid “deserves” a good Christmas or a good birthday. We’re taught to get them whatever is on their wishlist, even if we have to max out our credit cards to do it. Then we bend over backwards trying to pay them off for the rest of the year, or just give up and declare bankruptcy when the creditors come knocking.

Let me tell you something you may not want to hear. This whole idea has been sold to us by companies who make their livings off of people who have bought into this lie. The only person who “deserves” anything is the person who has earned it. That’s a concept you don’t often hear anymore. But neither do your kids deserve everything that you can throw at them, nor is it good for them to receive everything their little hearts desire.

I know this is harsh. I know it’s controversial. But the pervasive disease of entitlement in our culture begins to take root during childhood. It is one of the major problems in our country right now, and we are almost all of us responsible for it.

So, how do credit cards tempt us to buy more than what we have earned? By persuading us that the next thing we want will be the last thing for a while. That we’ll be perfectly content if we can have just this one thing more. That a month from now, when the statement arrives in the mail, you will have more money than you do right now. Because you’re going to stop spending and start saving.

I told my son this:

The kind of person who will spend money he doesn’t have to buy something he doesn’t need will never, ever have money.

They will always be discontent with their current situation, and they will continue to lie to themselves about changing their habits or having more money in the future.

If you want financial advice, you need look no further than the Old Testament:

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5

“The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Proverbs 22:7

“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9

photo credit: L’art au présent <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/144232185@N03/28745556294″>KAÏ,2016 – La Richesse – Wealth, Palais Royal, Rue de Rivoli, Paris-g</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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My Kids Hate Me (Flash Fiction)

I love telling short stories when the narrator doesn’t even know what’s going on. It’s one of my favorite methods of plot exposition. I think it’s so easy to deceive ourselves, and that it happens every day. I like to analyze why people feel the way they do, or what makes people behave the way they do, so you can see why this kind of writing appeals to me. It’s kind of sad sometimes, I know, but so is life.

The following was my first attempt of a prompt suggested by The 3 A.M. Epiphany. I didn’t stay within the parameters, but I did want to continue the story to see where it led. So, if my writing partner is reading this, don’t worry – I started over today, and now I’m obeying the rules, lol.

I have 2 daughters, and they both hate my guts. Even though Rich says I’m exaggerating, I know he’s wrong. I have proof. For instance, my 70th birthday just passed me by, and it didn’t occur to either of them to stop by for a visit or even call. My whole life is passing me by, and they don’t care a bit.

I have been up all night wondering how in the world they could disrespect the woman that gave them life. I’m sure it’s nothing I did. They must have gone astray somehow – had friends who taught them to hate their mom, or read the wrong kinds of books or watched the wrong kinds of movies. I’ve noticed that most moms in movies don’t love their kids at all, so maybe they’re just getting their ideas from Hollywood.

I can’t stay focused enough to figure it out; I’m too upset. So I have decided to write down what I know and see if the answers come to me.

 

Myra

Myra, she’s my oldest. She’ll be 49 in a couple of months, and she has no clue how good she’s got it. Her husband Frank works a full-time job, and she just sits around all day watching reruns of Golden Girls and sewing afghans. (She’s always been a loner, staying home when her sister and I went out, keeping to herself in her room, barely making an appearance for meals.)

She never had any kids – I guess she doesn’t like the idea of being a mom, since she hates me – and she doesn’t even know what it’s like to have to hold down a job.

Anyway, maybe I can guess what her problem is. When she was real little, she was the only child I had. We spent the first 8 years of her life playing Barbies, coloring together, enjoying games of hide-and-seek. I had to work outside the home, but I always made time for her.

But then Kelly was born, now she was a sick baby, so I had to let Myra sort of figure things out on her own after that. I’m sure it was good for her to finally take some responsibility. I had been molly-coddling her for almost a decade, so it had to end some time.

Myra kept nagging me and demanding my attention, but Kelly was a full-time commitment, and I was real tired when I wasn’t fitzing with her. One day though, she just stopped asking me to play with her.

At the time, I though she must have finally grown up, gained some independence. But that’s probably when she started hating me. Like I said, I’m not sure she ever really understood that I just didn’t have time to cater to her anymore.

Kelly

So I already mentioned Kelly, but she’s my second. I would almost call her my problem-child, except that none of it was her fault. Like I said, she was a sick baby, but that never really got better. Well, anyway, by the time we all learned to cope with her condition, she hated everyone, and me the most.

I tried to give her everything a little girl could possibly want, because I seriously didn’t know how much longer she’d live. I gave her extra candies and hugs when she was little, and all of the latest gadgets and fashionable clothing when she got older.

Myra never cared for any of that stuff. In fact, she moved out before Kelly turned 9.

Out of the blue, Kelly started asking for things that I just couldn’t afford, like that trip to Europe with her friends. She should have realized how much I loved her when I took that extra summer job to pay for her trip to California, but she had already missed her senior class trip, and I guess she never forgave me for that.

 

Well, I won’t lose any more sleep from now on. If they hate me, it’s their own fault for not realizing that I was doing my best for both of them. I can see that bending over backwards to show them that I loved them never did a lick of good, so why even try anymore?

photo credit: dmitryzhkov <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/67084790@N03/33209720101″>4_DSC8944</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;