We are all guilty of it. Everyone, at one point or another, feels entitled to something throughout their lives. We feel that we are owed a good life, we deserve peoples respect, we deserved to be valued by those around us, and much more. In reality, its not always the case. Although it may be dissatisfying to hear, we are not entitled to anything. The world and those around you do not owe you; we must earn it for ourselves.
This epidemic of entitlement, although it has been around for a significant amount of time, seems to be spreading more rapidly and more aggressively to young men in todays world. From schools to jobs to relationships and everything in between we can clearly see it happening. Boys in school feel entitled to act on their desires and emotions causing a rising generation to grow more disrespectful to authority and those around them. Boys in the workforce feel like they are entitled to great careers with less hours and great pay while they are doing the bare minimum to get by. Boys trying to start and maintain relationships feel entitled to have happy and healthy connections without the hard work of putting the other person first, having uncomfortable conversations, and learning how to truly love. Taking a look at a more personal example, entitlement is a growing issue in the fire service as well. New members who are willing to work hard for their positions, work for the respect of their peers, and work on their low-man duties are becoming a rare find. They think that they are owed the trust and comradery of the senior guys right from the beginning. In reality, respect and trust from the crew is gained through work and time. They want to see you competent and confident with your skillset, as well as consistent with the little things such as station duties. In short, trust and respect of your superiors and peers is earned, not owed. These are just several examples of how vast this issue of entitlement actually is, and it us up to us to acknowledge the issue and start being the change.
The first step to fix any issue is acknowledgement of the issue, but what makes entitlement that big of a problem? Should it be such a serious issue? The issue is not just a surface level social problem. With time, it can become much more significant. As an entitled man continues in his way, he grows more ungrateful overtime because he does not value what he has already. With ungratefulness comes a lack of respect to those around him and a sense of arrogance. Taking all that and pairing that with growing laziness, since he thinks he should be getting more than he is putting in, we get a weak man who is supposed to be the backbone of society. Multiplying that man all throughout our country, we have a nation who's values of faith, family, and integrity and rapidly disappearing. Entitlement creates weak men.
With this issue being so common, how do we begin to fix it? We can start by being consistent in the little things. Do not expect hand outs from those around you. Take ownership of your choices in life, whether good or bad. We cannot be dependent or expect others to hold our hand and help us fix our problems. When we take ownership of our choices and mistakes, we then can take pride in our work as we understand the amount of effort we put in. Another way we can grow is being thankful for the opportunities we have all around us. An entitled man does not value the opportunities he has, because he thinks he deserves that. A mature man, will see how much he has been given that he does not deserve, and will be able to seize each chance and make the most of it. When we value the people we have in our lives, the blessings we see every day, and the moments that teach us something new, we then can see how many doors open up in our lives. How can you challenge yourself to do better today? Change starts with the little things.
- Z. West