The "I Deserve It!" Generation

Cindy is always reading and searching for more information on how she can be a better homeschool mom. Recently, she called us all together for a brief but meaningful family meeting. She has been reading a book entitled, "Life Skills for Kids" by Christine M. Field. Below are a few of the paragraphs.

My husband describes the present generation as the IDI generation - "I deserve it." He has traced much of this self-centeredness to the parental belief that caring for a child consists primarily of giving in to all of that child's demands and wants, irrespective of any regard for the future outcome of this indulgence. These children cannot help but grow up with the attitude that the universe revolves around them and that they deserve any trinket or big-ticket item that they think they want - regardless of whether they can afford it.

Lest you think we are hopelessly old-fashioned (which we are), we believe that hard times are the norm for life. Being a Christian does not guarantee a problem-free life. Overindulging our children robs them of the opportunity to learn that we must not look for all of life to meet our hopes and expectations. And it robs them of the chance to learn little by little to handle adversity; it leaves them unprepared for facing hard times when they make their inevitable appearance.

In a recent article advising employers about the so-called Generation X young person, the author notes several important characteristics about this group. They are likely to have witnessed more violence, thanks to television, than any other generation in history. They often grew up too fast, usually home alone too often while their parents strove for the American dream. They have less loyalty and commitment to the workplace than previous generations, take longer to make their initial job choices, are likely to be highly computer-literate, often question authority figures because their parents weren't around to tell them what to do, and often have unrealistic and materialistic views. "Whether from watching TV or from being spoiled by their guilt-ridden, seldom home parents or grandparents, X'ers have come to expect a whole lot for nothing. They have a strong propensity for instant gratification, wanting it all and wanting it fast," the author notes. They want the perks of work, without the hassle. "They would like their world to be filled with the same good-looking people, dressed in the latest fashions, with lots of money and prestige, and without having to work too hard."

Suggestions:

1. Children come into this world expecting and demanding. (Example: 2:00 a.m. feedings.) It is a parent's responsibility to gradually reprogram their little minds into servant mode.

  • Assign your child a consistent regiment of age-appropriate chores. Be sure they understand that some of these chores are done simply because they are expected to be a functioning part of the family. The reward is having purpose.

  • Allow them to suffer. Several of the most revealing lines from this reading are these, "Overindulging our children robs them of the opportunity to learn that we must not look for all of life to meet our hopes and expectations. And it robs them of the chance to learn little by little to handle adversity; it leaves them unprepared for facing hard times when they make their inevitable appearance." Allowing our children to occasionally experience disappointment, sore muscles, and submission to unpleasant tasks and schedules IS good parenting. It will prepare them for even greater challenges as adults.

Three Suggestions for Changing the "I Deserve It" Attitude

  1. Age-Appropriate Chores
  2. Meet Needs of Others
  3. Look at Service Projects as Preparation for Eternity

2. Even adults have a propensity for selfishness. We tend to default to entitlements rather than servanthood. For this reason, we must be ever vigilant to guard ourselves from selfishness.

  • Just like brushing your teeth every morning, force yourself into a daily habit of looking for ways to meet the needs of others. Make a list. Reward yourself by taking a moment to bask in the satisfaction of servanthood. Positive reinforcement is important.

  • Life is a gym. Build mental muscle. Force yourself to do the difficult. Half the work is convincing yourself to do it. Mental muscle is essential. Do the daily workout.

3. Unlike the popular myths of heavenly harp-playing cloud drifters, I believe eternity, for the Christian, will be filled with assignments and adventures. In some ways, we are preparing now for the jobs that await us then.

  • Think of each service project as preparation for the quests that await you in eternity. Encourage your servanthood by seeing life as a trial run.

  • "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21, KJV) That is the goal. Those are the words that should resonate within your mind every time you want to shirk your duty or procrastinate your servanthood.

Conclusion

The greatest joys in life come when we embrace our true nature. We were designed to function, to be creative, to work. One of the most important gifts we could ever give our children, our culture, our God is a celebration of that nature. This holiday season, let's put thanks back in THANKSgiving and Christ back in CHRISTmas! Let's make it real!


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