“Okay so let me make sure I understand what it is you are saying. I have no idea what I am talking about because I am old and I couldn’t possibly understand!”
I about spit my water a crossed the waiting room yesterday listening to a mom and her daughter have a conversation. It took everything I had not to laugh out loud but when the mom repeated back to her daughter the above sentence I about fell out of my chair choking.
We all remember what is was like to know our parents had “NO CLUE!” We thought we knew it all and now, today our kids are living up to the threat of our mothers. “I hope when you grow up you have a kid just like you so you can see what it feels like!”
This mom and her daughter had quite the conversation and it wasn’t pretty. I felt very bad for the mother as what started out kinda funny turned into something very disrespectful. When did things change and becoming about entitlement? Have we always been so entitled? Did I miss it somewhere along the way and throw the paperwork out with the junk mail. You know, the paper that makes todays mom and dads have to hand over every modern convenience so their kids lives can be comfortable? The paperwork that says whatever it is that makes you happy at whatever cost I will do? Did the fine print say you can call me names and belittle me and I am supposed to talk it.
This mom sat there for about 10 minutes as this child who was probably 16 or 17 rattled off.
Yeah know, I know what it is to parent out of guilt. I know what it is to beat myself up. Sure, I wish I could provide for my kids a more comfortable life and be able to give them some of the things they want. Yet, it is in moments like this when I hear a kid who has a newer car than mine her parents pay for, no responsibilities, because as she stated her car insurance, phone, clothes, entertainment and wants are her parents responsibilities I thought WOW. I have 3 kids on their own right now. I couldn’t be more proud of them and I am thankful that along the way I tried to be real. It isn’t easy but all along the way they had to pay for their cars, insurance, cell phones and lots of things they wanted. I wasn’t in a place I could and in the times when I was I did what I could. The point is this. As I listen to this kid I thought what happens when she faces the real world? What prepares her then? Then I think to the grown lady in the store line behind me the day before Christmas that about took out my tonsils because I looked at her. According to her my white self shouldn’t be glancing in her direction. Then there is the two men I heard fighting over a parking spot at the gas station. One even said “Do you know who I am?” How about the little girl I met the other day. Her dad looked at me like I was crazy when my mouth fell open that his little girl just used a full sentence that included the f word. I was speechless but his sentence of explanation included the f word too so why was I surprised. Does who we are, who are parents are, what color or skin is or isn’t, where we went to school, what position we hold at work on in society, or any thing else for that matter grant us permission to wear entitlement like a right?
Call it reaping what we sow. Giving someone everything they want with no responsibility does what? Where and how do you learn value? Value of things, people or ones self? How is hard work and ethic taught? Where do we learn boundaries and motivation. How about how to achieve a goal or the sense of accomplishment when we earn something? Really, are we afraid to hold them to a higher standard? Might that then mean we have to tow the same line? We seemed so shocked at certain things but would those things be happening if people, places and things actually held VALUE!
As this mom walked away after attempting to tell her daughter that she had just humiliated her and disrespected her in public that daughters reply, “I don’t really care you are childish and ridiculous. You think you scare me with your idol threats? You will still pay for my stuff and I will still go to that party!”
See, I think the paper with the new rules never existed. I think our sad departure from morals and values that are real and teach of value changed and weakened and this thing called entitlement is an infectious disease. An excuse in some ways and in others a sad cop-out.
You say to me yesterday, I buy her everything she wants I know its tough being 15 I know its hard being her I know that kids are mean.
My reply today, the answer isn’t in the gifts, in the lack of rules or the extra privileges. The answer is in us getting real and involved and in teaching our kids to take pride in who they really are and stuff doesn’t make you cool, or liked or valued. If stuff taught that this kid sitting beside her mom yesterday would be up for daughter of the year award instead of in need of some soap in her mouth and an attitude adjustment.
Not saying I have done it all right parenting, that my kids are perfect. Just a wake up call to think about every action having a ripple effect on everyone watching, everyone including our kids. After all we live what we learn.