One definition (there are several all similar) is: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
This morning I read a blog post written by a 30 something actress, blogger and UN women’s advocate who also happens to be Rachel Zane from Suits and the new girlfriend of Prince Harry. Having binge-watched the first 5 seasons of Suits in 2 months (impatiently awaiting the 6th ) I’m familiar with the character she plays but had no idea of the person behind the character.
Her blog reads of a childhood experience where she learned that some people have nothing, are born into nothing and struggle as children to get enough of the basics; food, shelter, warm clothes.
Things that I have always taken for granted. Felt entitled to – without even realising it.
I grew up on a dairy farm in Pukehina, NZ. Look it up, it’s pretty nice there. We had few material possessions but plenty of everything we needed. Some of the kids I went to school with didn’t have enough food, shelter or warm clothing but with my white-privilege rose-tinted glasses on I didn’t really notice it.
(plus… I lived alone on my own little planet for quite-a-long-time)
Taking my kids to school today one of them was complaining that he didn’t have as many Pokemon cards as some of the other kids, at the same time throwing in a complaint that I wouldn’t buy sushi as a snack before class started. So I started THAT discussion (again)… the one that many of us bring up…the one where we talk about the children (in our city and beyond) who slept in cars last night, who didn’t have breakfast and who go to school hungry and without lunch.
My kids eyes glazed over. As usual.
Entitlement pops up everywhere – in social media, traditional media, in the supermarket, mall and on the streets. It goes hand in hand with Apathy.
How do I teach my children without causing their eyes to glaze over? Introducing them gently to another slice of life via books and media might help. Planning a trip to a third world country next year might help. Immersing them in other cultures might help. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen might help.
Teaching them to practise gratitude will help.
“Gratitude and entitlement cannot exist in the same brain” ~ John Townsend
It starts with me.
Thank you for being here.