Mark Twain may not have said it first, but he said it! “The world doesn’t owe you anything. It was here first!”
It is ironically insane the way the winds of opportunity and wealth, success and greatness have shifted in our direction as a society, only to be blown away by immense feelings of entitlement among the people of today. In a hundred years from now, it would not be surprising, if we were known as the generation of entitlement, who felt that the world – whoever it is that ‘the world’ is – owes nearly each and every person something in return for our sheer existence. And through this entitlement, we are slowly but surely destroying liberties that generations before us never once took for granted.
Perhaps Northland College principal John Tapene addressing a large group of students while quoting an unnamed judge who deals with teens got it right with the following speech. But the words for teenagers, do not only apply to teens. They apply to each and every one of us who thinks for a minute that the world we lives in, owes us something.
‘Always we hear the cry from teenagers “What can we do, where can we go?”
‘My answer is this: Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you’ve finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun.
‘The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words, grow up, stop being a cry-baby, get out of your dream world, and develop a backbone not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important, you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!”
Many people blame the new sense of entitlement on the cushy ways in which children have been raised for the past few decades. When you consider the United States, one of the supposed ‘most prosperous’ nations in the world, (despite our trillion dollars in debt) it becomes obvious with almost half of its people on some sort of welfare program, that the basic morality of humankind is changing. Years ago, no mother or father would sit idly by and wait for someone to feed his or her child; they would flip burgers despite a college degree in order to provide their kids with a meal of potatoes. Today, that is not the case. Today, there are more people not doing their share, waiting for those that do their share to provide for them. In essence, the basics of socialism come with a sense that the world owes us something for our efforts, whether we make them or not. And today, we don’t even need intention or desire, or ethics – to ensure that we are provided for. In fact, many people operate on the assumption that the world owes us a hot meal, a bed to sleep in, shoes, smart phones, and anything else we want simply because we exist.
People today do not want to work. And if they do work, they don’t want to work too hard. Nor do they want to work in jobs that are beneath them, or aside from their personal interests. Thus, we have unemployment rates at all time highs and immigrants in the United States working more regularly than the citizens that inhabit this great nation.
Children get trophies just for showing up, lest we hurt someone’s feelings by admitting that another child is better than another is. Children are not allowed to fail; we can no longer separate the intelligent from the un-intelligent, and are forced to make sure that every person fits into the same mold of life. The world has a bullying problem that can no longer be solved by playground brawls, and the immense immersion of political correctness on our speaking and engagement with others has diminished any chance at honest communication.
In many ways, many people today are living their life as victims. They are giving up their rights to choose, to succeed, and to create their own destiny by sitting back and waiting for the scrappy handouts that are left behind. And then, with audacity – these same people feel they have the rights to complain about what they were given.
The problem of entitlement, is not one that will go away anytime soon. The truth is that people need to realize that it is we, who owe the world. We owe the world our talents, and our skill. We owe the world our ability to take care of our planet, and we owe the world our efforts to make the planet a happier, safer place. Until each and every person can get together and realize that within each of us, big and small, black or white, male or female, rich or poor – lies a responsibility to the world, things will only get worse.