Entitlement

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.

x A

Words 

Kissing my 8yo goodbye in his classroom at school this morning I spied this piece of wisdom tacked up on the wall.

Your words define your mindset ~ define your life.

I’m so so happy that he will grow up already knowing something that took me 40 years to figure out!

xA

The Wo/Man in the Arena

Today I was reminded of this quote, originally uttered by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910.

I first heard it from Brené Brown in her book Daring Greatly. (A great read by the way – I found it quite meaty though. It took some digesting)

Today’s scenario was thus. I went into unfamiliar territory to help someone and I felt (and heard) those watching from the sidelines criticising and critiquing me.

It felt uncomfortable. Prickly. Vulnerable.

My ego / defence mechanism kicked in and started to criticise these people back – in my head.

After a few minutes I stopped.  Pulled myself up. Realised that what I was doing was reacting, and instead decided to shine a light on what was irritating me.

That’s when the quote came to mind. (FYI I’ve altered it to make it gender neutral).

It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong person stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat

And as I type this now I realise there will ALWAYS be critics, it’s one of the certainties in life.

But if you are one of those people in the arena… putting yourself out there – in a vulnerable place – striving for something, then I salute you.

It may be uncomfortable… but it’s where magic happens.

x A

Kids + the Supermarket Checkout

I snapped this photo at the supermarket checkout this morning. The magazine was placed about eye height for my kids. On it were two photos of a young lady – one pre weight loss and one post – flaunting her figure in a bikini.

mag cover.jpg

I took only the one photo, but there were at least five other magazines featuring either weight gain / loss or impossibly flawless faces and figures on the covers.

All at the perfect height for my kids to read.

While we waited in the queue.

(Right next to the chocolate bars).

What gets embedded in kids minds when there are crappy magazines like this staring out at them from every supermarket checkout, bookstore checkout, corner store placard?

It can’t be good.

x A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectly Perfect Salmon.

This salmon literally takes 5 minutes to prepare and can be done hours before, kept in the fridge and brought out just before cooking. Approx 200g of salmon per person is generous as it’s a rich fish and very fulfilling.

  1. How to pin-bone your fillet:

 

 

2. How to prep for the oven:

 

 

Cook in a medium oven for 10 minutes. Serve with asparagus or green beans and crunchy green salad and drizzle with vinaigrette or balsamic glaze.

Bon appetit!

x A

 

FAILURE ?!

I’ve been listening to Seth this morning. He is wise wise man. If you haven’t already, check out his blog.

He got me thinking.

What if failure was a means for discovery? What if we value it for the lessons it gives us – rather than an unpleasant result?

What if we lean in to it? Make failure desirable?

I have experienced failure many times enormously.

I’m possibly an expert.

One failure as a freshly graduated high school student was hitching my self-worth to my intelligence (or what I naively perceived as intelligence) and  promptly failing all papers in my first year at university – putting a serious crack in my self-worth and leading me down an unforeseen path.

This took me quite a LOOOONG time to recover from, (my son would say LONG 1,000,000  – lol ).

But what if we were part of a culture that sees the positive side of failure. Uses it to deepen understanding? To deepen connection?

e.g. in my case: Why did you want to go to Uni? …Why do you value intelligence? …What else do you value?…  What do you feel self worth is defined as? … etc is a path of discovery – unlike the other path I trod after that first year.

Why are we so keen to avoid failure when it’s a necessary part of creating something?

As humans we are born creators.

It’s in our DNA.

It’s one of the things that separates us from other species.

Brene Brown says ‘there is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period”.

When was the last time you failed? Can you shed a positive light on it?

x A