The times in which we currently live could easily be called the age of entitlement. It seems as if most people were born with the expectation they are owed most or everything in life. Even more disturbing is their belief, and anger, that they are not given enough. Our world, and particularly our country, is comprised of self entitled individuals angry at others, due to their illogical thinking, for preventing them from obtaining what is rightfully theirs. We have raised a series of selfish generations reliant upon dependencies with no gratitude to others, or for what they have.
Without gratitude humans always expect more from others. Although all societies are based upon the cooperation and interdependencies of others, troubling aspect of our current society is a lack of Many companies and employers, most of them doomed to fail, provide salary and benefits with no regard to the quality of their product. Our schools and universities provide teachers with instructional resources, salaries, and benefits and paid little attention to the quality of instruction and their products, the students. Parents and students expect passing grades for performance with little effort. Politicians expect to be reelected with little regard for the performance as representatives of the people. Rather than an appreciation for the assistance of others, people belief that this is owed, an expectation of greater assistance, and an anger toward others for not providing it. We see these destructive attributes in our world, country, and culture. Parents provide children with countless wants and needs, and expect no accomplishment and nothing in return. Governments provide various segments of their citizenships, year after year, resources and services with no expectations for accomplishments or improvement. addition, political representatives expect to leave office wealthy or much wealthier, generous benefits and retirement and showing little regard for accountability and the people they represent. People of various racial and ethnic groups expect special treatment merely because of their ethnicity or how their ancestors were treated in the past or present. One of the most glaring examples is the expectation of athletes and entertainers who expect special treatment and compensation. All of these examples demonstrate little gratitude for what they have and where they are.
Ironically all of the examples in the previous paragraph can trace their illogical expectations to the actions of the rest of us. We have created their unrealistic expectations and lack of gratitude by treating them better than we should and asking little in return. Sadly, we have done a disservice to these individuals. They are ill prepared for life, and even if they are successful monetarily, they rarely find happiness and spiritual bliss. Their friendships are usually shallow and tied to money and their lives often filled strife.
Worst of all the individuals described above are deprived of the benefits of the life of gratuity. One can read numerous articles on the benefits of a life of gratitude simply by searching the Internet. When one lives a life thankful for whatever they have, they are more fulfilled, happier, richer in friendships, make better workers, have happier marriages and family lives, and are generally considered successful. People much prefer a relationship or the friendship of the grateful person rather than someone who complains about the circumstances. Anyone can develop an attitude of thankfulness, regardless of their position or circumstances in life. Everyone can find reasons to be thankful in life, and those that do create more reasons and opportunities to be grateful. People viewing the positive nature of their surroundings usually develop stronger family ties and experience better health.
A grateful person is much less likely to develop hate and as a result far less likely to commit crimes. They are generally lovers of life and others. They enjoy greater respect for their fellow man and their country. Their strength of character is much greater, resulting in an individual better prepared for the rigors of life. They handle conflict better than negative people if they can stand up more readily to oppressive situations.
Our country and our society are inundated with angry entitled people always searching for what is owed to them. What we don’t realize is everything that is given them comes from someone else. It is either a gift given by another person or taken from another person. Every illegal dollar received by someone was stolen from another person. Every dollar given by a government or agency was taken from another citizen. Every dollar given by another person was a gift because that person cared.
We are bombarded daily with and by the selfishness of bitter and divisive people in need of a change of heart. Some may ask, how can I be grateful when my life seems so miserable. First you must search for the reasons. My main reason, I was given life calls and all-powerful God loved me. I was given a wife, children, grandchildren, extended family, friends, etc. We are provided the beauty of nature. We have the ability to love and forgive. We have the ability to think rationally and to create. There exist countless reasons to be thankful. You only need to find yours. We often ask, “What can I alone do to make a difference?” The one thing we can all do is open our hearts and allow the gratefulness held within all of us to shine through. We will improve the world and our world.
a Diana resident and former New Diana ISD superintendent, is an occasional contributor to the Longview Journal Saturday Forum. These articles are his submissions.