I sure hope that you all know what I mean when I say that America has problems. And if there is one culprit, I would say that it is our culture that has created many of these problems. We are not a loving and community based society. We are surrounded by selfishness, and in turn, we often seek to satisfy our own wants in order to try and gain some sort of satisfaction. One of the biggest lessons I know I learned while growing up was the difference between want and need. I want that sweater, but I do not need it. I want that playstation, but I do not need it.
I see this issue in our society way to much. And it is especially evident with the holidays coming up. Our greedy little hands open up the magazine, look through all of the new treasures in the store, and watch as the Black Friday sales bring down the costs of our hearts selfish desires, more and more. And although this problem is one that not everyone will feel the same about, there is a little bit of this in all of us. We all have this selfish desire to receive things we don’t need. And that isn’t to say that it is all American, of course human nature is to blame. But this selfish desire is a root that runs deep within all of us.
Who of you out there know a child who will bang their fists on the ground and scream at the top of your lungs in order to get what they want? Now who of you actually were that child? I know that I am no stranger to that thinking process. I remember throwing these ridiculous temper tantrums as a child. I look back and I smile at my foolishness. But, am I really all that different now? I still see things that I want, and even though I’m not rolling around on the ground out of agony because I just want that one little thing so bad, I still look at my bank account and make myself upset because I know I should save my money and not spend it. So although maturity is a factor here, I still feel that deep desire for something that I do not need. And no matter how many times I attempt to satisfy that want, I know that I will always want more. I’ll find happiness in that thing for a moment, but it won’t be long until my eye catches a new object.
One of the things that drives me crazy is when we turn that want for a physical thing into the want for someone else to treat us a certain way. I see this especially in the relationship between working people and their customers. I know I have watched my fair share of people treat a waitress like crap- as if she is the reason that they are having a terrible day, or as if she spilled that coffee on purpose. Although, with how rude everyone is these days, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the waitress to spill some coffee on that person who treated her like dirt. Is that a double standard? Perhaps so. But who honestly cares. Don’t people deserve to know that they aren’t the center of the world? Their selfishness does not dictate everyone else’s lives. Mistakes happen and life goes on.
I feel like we are just living in a culture where we cater to everyone’s needs. Like, “Oh no, sweetie, you don’t have an iPhone?” Well suck it up. I’m sorry, but the standard of living that my generation has been taught is not realistic. We are filled with these grand ideas that we can go out, reach for the stars, and get anything we want. And I want to believe that as much as the next person, maybe even more because I want to be a writer. But sadly, I live in a world where I am very afraid that people do not read anymore. Regardless, people don’t seem to understand that you are not going to be handed everything you want. And it doesn’t even always come down to hard work. Sometimes life just isn’t fun and sometimes we have to make the hard decisions. But more importantly, most of the time, you aren’t going to get what you want. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be content with what we have, it’s just that people forget to count their blessings.
So what is the point of this blog post? Why should we care? Well the answer is simple: Entitlement. Entitlement is the answer. It all started back in who knows what time when the American dream was born. The dream that if you work hard, you will get the perfect family, food on the table, and a perfect house with a white picket fence. And where has America gotten? Well, to start off, we have a broken family unit which can’t survive because people haven’t been taught how to make it work. We have food on the table, but the kind of food that most people can afford is contributing to America’s obesity rates. Or, the food we buy has been touched by child slave labor, but we are Americans, so more often than not, we buy the food and try to forget that we are privileged. Then, we want the perfect house with the white picket fence, which we can only get if we have a good credit score and the want to be in debt for the rest of our lives. And guess what? If working hard isn’t good enough for the company that you work for, which you got with the college degree that society expected you to get and you are also in crippling debt for, then you will lose that job, and then lose your house and you won’t be able to pay off your loans.
So why do American’s feel so entitled? Why do we put these expectations on everyone around us and on ourselves to get whatever we want? It is rather ignorant, and yet it the undertone of our whole society. I hate it. Not that entitlement is all bad, but it gives us a bitter root- believing that we deserve this or that and we will do whatever it takes to get it. I want people to see that our society isn’t perfect, and by putting away these ridiculous feelings of entitlement, I think that we can make our society a happier and more loving place to live.