Think about the last time you heard the word “blessed.” What came to mind? For many of us—and many of our students—the word blessed conjures up images of the coolest clothes, the newest gadgets and a worry-free life. But when we look at what God has to say about being blessed, we realize that we probably have things pretty mixed up. Because if being blessed is more about our relationships—and what we do with them—than the stuff we have, we may have some reevaluating to do in order to redefine what it means to be blessed and realize that we might already be more blessed than we originally thought.
Entitlement seems to be creeping into our culture through every mode possible—television, magazines, music. The feeling that we have the right to something—or to many “somethings”—seems to be the new cultural norm. And while it’s easy to blame the media, culture and maybe even other families who seem to give their teenagers everything under the sun, it’s important to remember the hard truth that in reality, entitlement begins at home. What we model to our children is the true determining factor in how they view the world; what the world has to offer and what they are entitled to get from it. But the problem is, for many of us, entitlement isn’t something that our kids alone struggle with. Entitlement is our struggle too.
Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “If only there was more money in our family budget, we could do so much more for our children? They could be on the traveling baseball team, go on all the church trips and have all the latest gadgets.” Come on. Admit it! There has probably been at least one time in your parenting journey that you have wished for more—more money, more time … more something. And this is totally normal. It’s a struggle that we all face. So, just for fun let’s pretend: You are still you, with your spouse, your children and your extended family, but now you have everything you could ever want—every dollar, every resource, every “thing” and every need met (and most every want met too). How does it feel? Do you feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled? Do you feel more “blessed”?
There is an article that came out in “The Atlantic” in April 2011 entitled “The Secret Fears of the Super Rich.” What the article uncovered was the reality that even the super rich fear for the well being of their children. The article’s summary states: “Does great wealth bring fulfillment? An ambitious study by Boston College suggests not. For the first time, researchers prompted the very rich—people with fortunes in excess of $25 million—to speak candidly about their lives. The result is a surprising litany of anxieties: their sense of isolation, their worries about work and love, and most of all, their fears for their children.” (To read the full article, go to http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/04/secret-fears-of-the-super-rich/8419/.)
As one respondent of the survey confided, “Other people glorify wealth and think that it means that the wealthy are smarter, wiser, more ‘blessed’ or some other such crock … it’s hard to get other, non-wealthy people to believe it’s not more significant than that … The novelty of money has worn off.”
Can you imagine being able to say that? To say the novelty of money has worn off? Most of us will never be there, but it sure feels good to know that just because someone has enough money to buy anything their heart desires—for themselves or their children—it doesn’t mean that it alleviates their fears. It doesn’t mean that they are more blessed. As a matter of fact, in most cases, it actually ups the ante on the fear and anxiety level.
Stay tuned for our next Parent Cue. We’ll walk you through ways to fight entitlement in your home and your kids lives. You won’t wanna miss it!
Youth Ministry Team